So stinkin’ proud

This morning I got up before dawn (which if you know me is pretty darn impressive) to be at church by 7 and at the mall by 720.  The kids from the choir I assist in were singing the national anthem and providing entertainment for the SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) 5k that occurs out by the mall.  We have 115 in the choir, and since this was optional were hoping that 40 or so showed up.

We had that, plus a few more! The parents were so enthusiastic to take photos that they couldn’t get out of the way of the runners that the runners could watch, but that’s okay.  It made them look good.  We (meaning the kids) sang for about an hour, doing very very well in the FREEZING cold. Parents cheered and passed out fliers

But the best part was this little girl in a pink coat.  She kept bringing her grandmother over to see the kids sing, and eventually the grandmother let her walk over on her own.  She was copying the movements for some of the songs, and after about ten minutes and walked so close that she was IN the group.  Best part of all?  The last song the kids sang has no movements, so we just had the director up front.  And this little girl thought they were the movements so she was doing them as best as she could, right along with the leader.

Absolutely adorable!

Growing up is hard to do

Tonight was my life group meeting.  It’s a group of girls that meets every other Monday night, and lately we’ve been discussing Esther.  It started about sixteen months ago, and I’ve been going for about fourteen.  Through last year and the summer we had about 12 on roster and maybe 6-8 active.  Once the fall started we had a growth explosion.  God truly blessed our group and our numbers just rocketed.  We had as many as 18-20 crammed into that living room, and maybe 8-10 more that would come sporadically.  Lately we’ve leveled out around 12-14 each week, and I’m so thankful that I can call these women my friends and my closest confidants.  I was telling one of them tonight–I don’t know what I would have done the last year-plus without having this group to turn to.  It’s been YEARS since I’ve had a group of women that I had this much in common with, and even not in common with, but we all love Jesus and come together to grow through God.  For that matter, I’ve NEVER had a group like this, for in high school and college it wasn’t the same.  And I wouldn’t change what I have now for the world.

Unfortunately, I’m not the one that gets to choose if we change or not.  Tonight the decision was announced that the group is splitting in half.  It is something I dreaded.  I knew it was coming, I expected it, but I didn’t want to see it because I don’t want to lose the connection with whatever girls are going to be in the other group.  We have to do it, I understand that.  The church has ‘closed’ our group for five months now because we cannot accept more, yet there are still women looking to join groups and to fill a need.  By splitting, we are now able to accommodate them and ‘reopen’.  I know that change is good, and that growth is good, but selfishly I do not want to split for the aforementioned reason.

We are going to try to have a social once a month minimum so that we can stay close.  And who knows, if membership dwindles then we will reform, but as for now we’ll make the best of it and see how things go.  I’m excited about the opportunity, and hope for the best with both sets of women, though I will miss having J as my leader!!!

Fat Tuesday Eve

Let’s make something clear.

I am not a Catholic.

This is something that my mother tries to force down my throat every year around this time, when I start talking about what I might give up for Lent.  “You’re not Catholic!” she says.  “You were raised Baptist! You’re not supposed to give up anything!”

I was in college when I first encountered people close to me that observed Lent.  Sheltered as I was, I had a lot of questions.  It was a few years, but after much deliberation I started giving up things for Lent as well.  At first it was the more popular sacrifices: chocolate, alcohol, salt, swearing.  Not too difficult, seeing as how I don’t go to chocolate first, don’t drink much (I was the permanent Designated Driver in college), I don’t add salt to my food, and at the time I was on a righteous kick so I rarely swore.  Plus there was always Sunday, which as a feast day was the day where you could indulge.  I made up for the prior week with mimosas and horrid food at brunch! 🙂

As I grew older, there were years where I halfheartedly made Lenten sacrifices.  Candy.  (Don’t really eat it.)  Sex.  (Wasn’t having it anyway.)  Smoking.  (Never smoked in my life.) Going out and partying.  (Never partied–I was working three jobs, so when I had free time all I wanted to do was sleep.)  Then, about five years ago, I finally got serious.  What is the point of sacrificing something if it wasn’t something that was difficult?  Continue reading

The L in the Middle of Your Forehead

Never Been Kissed was a cute movie.  School geek grows up, gets a newspaper job, and goes undercover at a high school again to talk about how hard it is.  Plus, yummy!, Michael Vartan.  Anyway, there is one scene that just irritates me.  I know it’s a common practice, but I can’t stand it when kids do that “L” to the middle of your forehead and shout “LOSER”.  Or when adults do it even.

This video clip shows when Josie (Drew Barrymore) falls asleep on top of her club stamp, and has the brand on her forehead.  Start at about :45 in, and watch to about 2:33.

Kids are cruel.  Shoot, people are cruel, and that’s the truth.  Don’t want to be, but I suppose at times I am too.  Still, there is just something so crass about the thumb-and-index-finger motion.  It’s something I can’t stand.

Tonight at Bible study changed how I think about that gesture.  Continue reading

Hedonism, Begone!

I got to go to church this morning. Sure, that’s something to look forward to every week, but this was especially meaningful.  I sat down and tried to figure out how long it has been since I have been in a proper service, and was shocked.  December 2oth was canceled because of snow.  December 27th I only could stay for the service and not for kid’s church because it was the last home football game and I had to hit the road.  Then the 3rd of January was the kid’s Christmas program (which was originally supposed to be on 12/20) so I missed both sermons, the 10th I was there but since I had to run an errand for kids church first and the pastor was preaching in all three services I missed 2/3 of the sermon, the 17th I was out of town, the 24th I was sick as a dog, the 31st I had no car and services were again canceled because of snow.

So to make a long story short, I have only been to service once since before Christmas!  Yes, I was a practicing heathen. Continue reading

Is there such a thing as too conservative or too zealous when it comes to religion?

Small disclaimer: It’s late, I read this article a few weeks ago, then again earlier today, and it is STILL bothering me.  So much so that I had to put my thoughts in some sort of rambling order and try and see if I was making sense, making something out of nothing, or making a fool of myself.  Thus the reason for this rambling essay . . . .

This article, and the fact that this is a serious movement, really does frighten me.  I don’t know why, but it does.  I don’t have a problem with different translations in theory, whatever floats your boat you know?  We all have our personally favored translation that we use regularly because we identify with the style of speech, type of writing, etc.  I just have a feeling that if a translation such as this proposes were available it would lead to all sorts of behavior by the extremists, some of which already have their own interpretation of the version in use today.  The simple fact that they consider the KJV to be ‘liberal’ at best to me indicates that they are already skewed in their thinking, not to mention approaching this from an extremely biased perspective–albeit the opposite perspective than the one they currently believe exists in error.

Currently this group feels that the translations out today show a lack of accuracy in both modern language and the original texts as well as a disconnect that has occurred during the translation process, and the group is trying to correct these issues.  I don’t have a problem with some of their requirements for a new translation, such as the logic of hell or open-mindedness.  Nor do I care about gender-inclusive language; in most spoken languages (English being the exception thanks to the PC movement) the plural form of any group of objects is masculine, regardless of the number of females or feminine objects present.  One masculine presence, and the plural form is masculine.  To my knowledge this is only an issue here, in English, but it has never bothered me.

I do take issue with other points.  Continue reading

Questionable Friendships Clarified

I was impressed, I received a response back from my pastor within 24 hours.  (When I email Pastor B, it sometimes takes several days–what a nice surprise!)

Here is his response, which I think I still have a few issues with but we’ll see after I process it . . . .

You are never bothering me with what God is doing in your life.  I think it is the coolest thing ever to have someone interacting with a truth that God put on my heart to share. Continue reading

Questionable friendships

People sometimes look at me strange when I talk about taking notes in church.  Well, I do.  For me, it’s a way to pay attention and keep my mind from wandering during the 30-40 minutes that I have to sit still.  Plus it gives me something to reference and look back on.  Sometimes I take tons of notes, sometimes it’s only half a steno pad page.  Depends on who, what, etc.

This past Sunday was a big note taking day.  And for the first time I also pulled out a pen and wrote down questions as I went along.  I always have questions, I think they are healthy.  But this time I had a LOT of questions during the sermon, and I’m curious to know what others might think about it.  Continue reading

I am always amazed by the SEEK kids!

Last night was the annual concert by my church’s youth group.  160 active kids got up to sing.  Normally they also have a fund raiser for their summer missions trip, this year they decided there is enough going on in the world that they can do missions right here at home.  So that was the theme–hope, faith, and community.  Later this month they are going to have a market in town where people can come and ‘shop’ for services (haircuts, medical screenings, etc.), food, clothing, whatever.  At no charge.  And it will be run by the kids.

They were absolutely amazing.  I am always inspired by these kids and hope that if I ever have a family of my own some day that they can be as plugged in and as deeply rooted in their faith as these children demonstrate.  How very inspiring.

A Weekend Away

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80 women
40 hours
6 horses
5 houses
4 hours
3 days

Thus was the total of the weekend I had at Sandbridge. 80 women went away to the beach, where from 7pm Friday to 11am Sunday we were able to worship and learn together. We were divided into five different houses, and while we thought leaving at 230 would give us plenty of time to get there we ran into traffic issues on 264 and it took four hours to get there. Continue reading

A Small, Small Light

So today at church I was waiting for the sermon, only to not get one. We got a lot of songs, a lot of praising, and then instead of a sermon we had an “interview” with John. He is on furlough until the middle of July. He, his wife, and three kids run a Christian school–in the Gaza Strip.

Listening to this man, this local boy that is about my age, I was just floored with how much this one person can and has done. The first year the school was open, there were 67 students. 66 were Muslim, 1 was Christian. The stories this man told about his kids at the school and the things that they were doing were truly inspiring. From the compassion shown to these children to the difference a random act makes it is just amazing that the things God does over there has such a maximum impact.

I really enjoyed the service today. No ‘do this, not that’ sort of sermon, but I’m still thinking about it 12 hours later. I wish this man and his family well when they return next month. They need all the protection that they can get from God and his warriors, and I look forward to hearing of the great things that they have been able to accomplish when he comes back on furlough again in four years.

Yada Yada

So awhile ago I was in the evil place–also known as a bookstore–and saw a book on sale for about $5.  So what the heck, I picked it up.  It was called the Yada Yada Prayer Group. I did not realize at the time that it was the first of seven books, but it was cheap and a fun read.  While it was like a lot of contemporary Christian fiction (aka, schlocky and full of stereotypes) it was still an okay read.  So I finished it, hit the library, and have finished the first three books in four days.  The themes haven’t changed much, still schlocky and stereotypical, but the thing is stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.  There’s a little bit of truth behind all of it.  And while it might make you cringe and while you might say ‘no, that’s not me’, the truth of it is that there is always a little something that you can relate to.

The books aren’t fantastic fiction, by any means, but they are an easy read.  I think one of the things that really rings true is that among this group of twelve women are various ethnicities.  Two hispanic, one South African, three black, and the rest white.  Messianic Jews, Christian, searching for God, and an ex-con among them, but still a diverse mix.  Thrown together by circumstance and not by choice they then have an experience that draws them together as a group. Continue reading

People Bore Me

Disclaimer: Sorry, bit rambling today, but lots of thoughts all jumbled up in my mind haven’t straightened themselves out enough to be linear. Typing this helped some, but not quite enough . . .

This morning I was actually up early (woo hoo!) and made it to the pancake breakfast at church without any hardship. Considering I am usually not even remotely awake at the time it started, this constituted a true accomplishment for me this AM. I had a very nice time, sat with some of the ladies from my small group and was joined by B and NoMH a bit after 8am. Because I was there so early I went to the early gym service instead of my usual 1115 spot.

Boy, what a difference between the two of them. Continue reading

The bad with the good . . . and faith with it all

What is it with all these people getting sick lately? It’s the weirdest thing:

  • My former next door neighbor has stage 2 lung cancer, and when they went in to biopsy they found it had spread. They found what they thought was a clot behind the heart and when they went to remove it it disintegrated. Can’t take most pain meds, so he’s stuck. Finally at home, though, but still a horribly sick man. Still, he was in the hospital when they found the clot, which could have killed him within days.
  • Girl from church has a sister that had aneurysms on both sides of her brain. One burst, one did not. They were able, in two different surgeries, to remove the one and clean up the other. Remarkably, she has very little noticeable side effects and is doing very well. Continue reading