Friday, December 31, 2010

It's Not An Ending!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

It is so hard for me to believe that it is the last morning of 2010. Time is so quickly passing- or so it seems doesn't it? The truth is - time moves as it always has. But here we are at another ending and another beginning.

When I sought something encouraging to write this morning I looked the above verse up in my Bible's concordance, wanting to focus on the new mercies of God EVERY morning. I wanted to remind us all that each day - not just each new year, is a blessing from Him. I was wanting to focus on the newness of the beginning.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

As I read the passage and began to type it, the first verse was what really struck out to me. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;"

You see ladies, everything we see will cease. Just as 2010 is ending, so will 2011, if the Lord tarries. Creation is deteriorating awaiting His return. Everything is on a downward spiral awaiting its end. Everything we know has a conclusion, a God ordained, planned end.

Everything except Him. His steadfast love never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.

So today, I am not going to focus on the ending of 2010. I have decided not to reflect on its highs and lows. (When the author of Lamentations wrote this, he had seen his whole world fall apart!) I am not even going to make plans for 2011, or allow myself to dream about what the new year may hold.

I am going to purposefully, intentionally worship my God, my God who knows no end and has bestowed His eternal blessings upon me. Praise His holy name sisters! We have much to worship Him for!






Thursday, December 30, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

Sigh!

It is nice to be home. Last night we returned to Clarksville from visiting my family in the Dayton, Ohio area. We had a wonderful Christmas celebration there, enjoying the fellowship with friends and family. However, my youngest and I ended up fighting a stomach bug. We were quite ready to sleep in our own space and in our own beds.

We had a blessed Christmas season and I found myself yet again amazed that our Mighty God would come to earth, to live among His creation as a poor carpenter's baby -born not in a mighty mansion but a barn, laid not in a golden crib but a feeding trough for smelly livestock.

Ah, yes God is good.

I look around my house now and there are bags to unpack, laundry to be done and Christmas goodies to put away. There is no doubt that there is a ton to do. But I am thankful to be here. I am thankful for today. I am thankful for my incredible God.

Now, to make some coffee and unpack my Bible. I have some time I need to spend in His word.

I hope you have had an amazing Christmas holiday. Please feel free to post what God has shown you this holiday.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where Prostitution is OK


Where I am sitting I can hear the waves crashing on to the shore and can see the beautiful, powerful water rushing in and out of the Atlantic Ocean. When I go to bed at night and wake in the morning I hear the sound of the powerful sea. Calming. Powerful. This morning, however, they are frightful. Dark. Angry.

As I reflect on the sea and the waves that can at times be beautiful and calming and at other times be dark and dangerous and frightful I think of how this country we are visiting our son in (Dominican Republic) is much the same.

We can go to beautiful beaches, quaint restaurants, and see beautiful homes and at the same time see poverty and dirt and pain.

Nothing has hurt my heart more than the prostitution that is legal and rampid in this city. I have heard about it all year as our son and daughter-in-law tell us about how the city they live in is well known for its prostitution....men from Europe and all over the world come here just for that. I was disturbed and concerned and prayerful all along....but yesterday I saw...and have been changed. As we were walking down the street coming toward us was an older man holding hands with a beautiful, young girl...maybe 14 or 15...with empty eyes....and the Lord gave me a glimpse of what is happening.

All night I have not been able to sleep thinking/praying for these young teens whose lives are nothing like a teen's life ought to be. Ladies, would you please join with me in praying for these girls? These men? The missionaries here who are trying to do something about this? I wanted to grab her and take her home with me...it is rampid and it is open and it is acceptable here. How did that happen?

Lord, open our eyes to see what You want us to see...then give us an urgency to pray for Your beautiful girls all around the world. Today, Father, may each one get a glimpse of how much You love them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in the Dominican Republic

Ernie and I arrived in the Dominican Republic December 21st to spend Christmas with our son and daughter-in-law. They moved here one year ago to do missions and this is our first time here.

I am pictured here with a precious little girl who kept "eyeing" me at her school party...those eyes were begging me to let her sit on my lap...and I was longing to do it!!

All week I have been pondering, praying and wondering what God would have me share with you this Christmas week....and honestly, I am mute....and I am not sure why....but there is one thought that keeps permeating my heart.

Christmas here is so different than in the States. I am not rushing here and there. Not many lights and decorations or Christmas songs and shopping or trees and cold weather...but there is Christ and His provisions and His laborers and His people. We have worshiped in Spanish where I knew no words and in English where I knew no people other than my family. And even though things might not "seem" like Christmas....Christmas it is because Christ came.

Friend....perhaps something has happened this year that finds yourself saying, "it just does not feel like Christmas". We know that the truth of the matter is that even if we have no tree, or lights, or cards, or snow, or songs, or family, or tradition or Santa....it is Christmas!!! Perhaps next year we should go without all of the "stuff" that makes it "feel" like Christmas and just focus on Christ!

Love to you all....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Important Question

So, I have a very important question for you….I would LOVE to know what you do about sending out Christmas cards. Deep huh? Seriously, what do you normally do?? The task can be overwhelming and quite expensive and I really want to get your ideas and suggestions that have worked for your family.

Do you…

1. Not send them at all?
2. Put one for each family in the RA or GA “Lottie Moon” Christmas mailbox?
3. Put one for some families in the “Lottie Moon” Christmas mailbox? If so, how do you determine who gets one and who does not?
4. Mail only to those who are out of town?
5. Mail to everyone at church?
6. Mail to certain ones at church? If so, do you run into the same dilemma as number three above? Who gets one and who does not?
7. Send one to everyone who sends you one?
8. Write Christmas letters?
9. Send pictures?
10. Say it in the December newsletter?
11. Other

You see, we have not given a card/letter/picture to every family in our church…but I would LOVE to!! BUT I also really want to write something personal on all my cards…not just a signature…so time is an issue AND not to mention the expense!! I truly want to wish our church families a Merry Christmas and honestly would LOVE to know what you do and what has worked for you! How do you wish your church Merry Christmas?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas if Only in My Dreams

I can smell the food now. Mom standing the kitchen making our traditional Christmas family feast which we call Mexican Fiesta. Yes, instead of the classic turkey or ham with trimmings, our family chose several years ago to go with homemade enchildas, salsa, rice, beans, and chips. Mom spends days preparing chili for beef enchildas and cooking chicken for her special chicken sour cream enchildas. Oh man, my mouth is watering!


Unfortunately, this year my husband and I will not be traveling back to southwest Arkansas for Christmas. Instead we are spending Christmas here. We are have explained to our families this year that it will be impossible for us to get away due to ministry obligations. They understand but are sad. Instead I plan to cook a small meal for my husband, son, and mother/father-in-law.


Sadly, many ministering families live great distances from their families. Missionaries often cannot travel home for holidays. Instead they use the time to invite the people they minister to into their homes. Some ministers of local churches open their homes to senior adults who might be alone for Christmas.


This year we will join our church family for a wonderful Christmas Eve service. On Christmas Day we will celebrate quietly at home. We will make a Christmas Day phone call to my family in Arkansas and pretend we are there in our dreams enjoying the Mexican Fiesta. My men will watch football for hours and I will find a Christmas movie to enjoy. More importantly we will carry on our family tradition of reading the Christmas story of Jesus' birth.


So ladies, I wish you a blessed and happy Christmas. I pray you will be renewed for the coming year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

White Christmas

Well, if you live in the middle Tennessee or eastern part of the state, I know you experienced the snowfall yesterday. I found myself humming "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" all day along plus I cannot tell you how many cups of hot chocolate I sipped. I mean, I got to experience three of my favorite things-snow, Christmas song, and chocolate! Seriously, as I watched the beautiful snow drift down toward earth, I got all warm and fuzzy inside and began to think about God.



First, snowflakes are so delicate and each one is unique. Can you imagine no two flakes are alike? Only the God of the universe could create infinite possibilities of snowflakes!
In the same way our Heavenly Father created each of us to be unique individuals. Our possibilities are endless.



Second, snowflakes are white. I wonder why God did not choose to provide different hues for snowflakes. I think a few blue, pink, and purple flakes would provide an interesting mix until they melted. Then, the colors would mix together and become some ugly, nasty color. No, I like to think our Father chose the color white to remind us that our sins are forgiven and we are washed white as snow.



Third, as the snow fell yesterday, gust of wind would blow the flakes in circles. At times the snow and wind mix became a total chaotic blur. I began to realize that our lives are like the snowflakes. We are delicate and unique but sometimes the storms of life blow us in all directions. Unless we keep the Father close by we will find ourselves in a chaotic blur as well.



As Christmas approaches, I hope we have another snow. I have never experienced a white Christmas but I personally think it would add a magical element to the day and a quick reminder that Jesus came to earth to forgive us of our sins and make us white as snow.


Share Thought for Today: What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tis the Season

The Christmas season is upon us. It's the season for shopping, decorating, parties, and family gatherings. It's the season for feasting on holiday favorite foods. It's the season for just one more excuse for eating chocolate yummies like homemade fudge. Yes, tis the season.


More importantly it is the season for celebrating the birth of our Savior. If God had not sent his only Son to us, we would have no reason for the season. We really would not need a Christmas tree with all the decorations. We would have no need for gift giving and family gatherings. We would not display our nativity scenes. It would be just another ordinary day in the life of ordinary humans.


Let's remember in the midst of the holiday chaos that the real reason for the season is Jesus' birth. it is the time when He left His throne in heaven to be born in a lowly manger. It is the time when God looked down from heaven and showed His ultimate love for us. Yes girlfriends, this the Season!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joy To The World

This past summer my pastor preached a series on joy. I so enjoyed it because our family has always felt our journey has been one of joy. Please understand, it has not been easy, but we have learned much about the 'full joy' Jesus referred to as He taught His disciples.

As we walk through this season the word joy is everywhere. It is on banners, cards, clothes, in songs and sermons. The angels used the word joy in the announcement of the birth of our Savior.

In spite of all the reminders of joy, we are often faced with joy stealer's in our everyday walk. I want to share with you a brief portion of the sermon I heard that may help as you seek joy in this season. The scriptures used were from Philippians.

B elieve God is in charge. 1:12-13,19
L ive like you are dying. 1:21
E xhibit the mind of Christ. 2:5-8
S eek Christ above everything else. 3:7-8
S tretch your faith. 3:13
E xperience the power and peace of God through prayer. 4:6-7
D epend on Christ above everything else. 4:11-13

I truly believe joy is wrapped up in gratitude. Take some time to tell your family how they bless you, tell your friends the blessings they bring into your life, share with those you serve how blessed you are to serve them.

JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Good News

As the decorations go up and the kitchen becomes the center of activity we have a tradition that is not one we chose. This is the time of year I travel to Houston to MD Anderson for all my cancer tests. I will walk into the hospital early in the morning and walk out that evening. I will be poked, prodded, stuck, have xrays, mri's c-scans, drink awful stuff and have radio active dye put in my veins. It is a long day that often includes some pain.

The hospital will quietly be playing Christmas tunes and there will be trees and decorations throughout. I will see thousands of people as I walk through the day. Some will be smiling, some will be crying, some will be sleeping while waiting, all are hoping for good news.

This has become a family tradition for us. My sons wait for the call at the end of the week. They pray for good news. We all hope that Christmas will be cancer free. We are grateful if the news is just - no change.

I have to tell you that hearing the words cancer free would be good news. I have actually never heard those words since I started this journey, yet I am for the moment very healthy.

As I think about the good news that all those people in Houston want to hear, I am aware that we all have the "Good News" that they need.

Jesus is our Good News. We know that, we hear it every Sunday and at every Christmas party, but are we sharing with those around us? Are you aware of the need in the lives of those around you for Good News?

Take time to notice those God brings into your life. Share with them the ultimate Good News.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Calling All Bi-Vo Wives






I would like to personally invite you to the:
Bi-Vocational Ministers and Wives Retreat
Music Road Hotel & Convention Center
Pigeon Forge, TN
February 3 – 5, 2011

This year’s theme is “COME AWAY WITH ME-- God." Registration begins at 1:00 on Thursday and the last session is at 11:30 on Saturday. You will not want to miss this year. Featured Personalities scheduled are: Roger Britton, Randy Davis, Jeanne Davis, Jamie English, Jr., Charles Foster, John Franklin, Diane Gilder, Ray Gilder, Michael Kelley, Al Mahan, Don Person, Trish Pierson, Tony Rankin and our own Lana Rose.
Cost: $175 per couple which includes your hotel, meals and breaks. Deposit is due by 12/15/2010. Full payment due 1/15/2011. No Refunds after 1/25/2011.
If you have never attended, please make plans to do so. I promise you will not be disappointed. Roger and I have been attending for many years. Our first retreat was back when it was held at Fall Creek Falls. Our deacons had seen the retreat advertised and decided that they wanted to send us to it. I did not want to go. I was burned out. I had smaller children and no one to watch them and to be honest with you, at the time, I felt that I needed a vacation, but certainly not to some ole conference where we had to sit and listen to preaching all day and act “spiritual”. I was not feeling very “spiritual” at that time. Anyway, my husband said we had to go because the deacons wanted us to and the church was paying for it, so we drove to Alabama and brought my mom back to watch our kids and off we went.
The retreat was NOTHING like I expected. There was a room full of pastors and wives that felt JUST LIKE WE DID. Everyone was stressed, burned out and needed a break. We got to let our hair down and just RELAX. We have never left a retreat that we were not refreshed and uplifted. Our church continues to send us every year. They say it is money well spent because their pastor and his wife come back with a burst of energy and on fire for the Lord. They reap the benefits. I might mention that once we settled down and relaxed, then we did have great teaching, sharing, singing, entertainment and preaching……..but it was ALL GOOD.
Roger and I look forward to the retreat each year. It is a time of refreshing, renewing, and LOTS OF FELLOWSHIP with the friends we have made over the years. We come away with a booster shot that lasts us until the next retreat.
Click here for the link to
REGISTER.
Send in your registration and I look forward to seeing you in February.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Slow Down....RELAX!!!


As you are reading this, I am sitting at a Technology Conference in Nashville. The school system sends me to this conference every year. Not only do we learn the new and up-to-date technology skills, it is a great time to relax and slow down from the crazy holidays.

Is my life the only one that is hectic every year from before Thanksgiving until New Years? This year has been especially hectic since we have Cody’s college graduation and are trying to help him find a place to move to in Kentucky. Between the shopping, decorating, baking and wrapping gifts, I barely have time to do the holiday flyers, church bulletins, prayer lists, e-mail prayer chain, birthday cards, anniversary cards, cards to the shut-ins, and cards to the sick. (….I forgot to mention in my previous blog that bi-vocational usually means that there is not a church secretary, so the pastor’s wife inherits all of those duties, along with VBS Directory, etc...Smile. I am not complaining; it is just part of the deal.)

We live almost three hours from out moms and it was very hard during Christmas with young children, so I thought that as my children got older, it would get easier. NOT!!! Now, not only do our families live almost three hours away, we have two grown children that live in different directions also, so now we REALLY have to shuffle and be creative to fit everything in. Of course on the bright side, Christmas is not over in a day or two………it takes a month or two to fit everything in…between our church activities and family activities. Smile.

The important thing is to slow down, take a deep breath and remember what the holidays are all about. Sometimes we get so caught up in the “celebration” that we forget what we are really celebrating. Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!! Let’s Stay Focused!!

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ our Lord…” Luke2:11

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Witness

Does Your Life Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

I mentioned in my previous blogs that “the children” are one of my passions. Not only is it important to begin teaching them at a very early age, it is very important for us to sit back and listen to them. I teach sixth graders in a public school system. Before Thanksgiving, I had the students type me a paper on what they were thankful for and why. I got some very interesting responses.

Some of the students said they were thankful for their friends, their house, food, video games, television, and all of their “stuff”. Others were a little more personal saying they were thankful for their family, their siblings, etc.

Several students wrote that they were thankful for their church and for God. One girl’s paper really caught my attention. She wrote that she was thankful for paper because she loved to draw. She was thankful for books because she enjoyed reading…….and the list went on. Then she wrote, “I’m thankful for church because without it no one would know about God and we would die lost. To tell you the truth I’m pretty much thankful for everything, from indoor plumbing to dirt. But what I’m most thankful for is God! Without him I wouldn’t even be breathing right now. He loves us so much that he sent his only begotten son to die for us on the cross. He wants to save a lost and dying world and all we have to do is come to him and ask for forgiveness. The Bible says he is faithful and just to forgive us. So if you’re not saved you need to make that decision today. If you are saved you should be out there witnessing and helping them make that decision today. Would you send your son to the cross to die for the whole world? I know that I wouldn’t be able to, but you know what God was that loving! God loves us even more than you can imagine. That’s why I’m thankful for him.”

What an awesome testimony and what a “grounded” sixth grader! This paper was written less than a month from when our county’s high school was all in the news because we were being challenged by a Wisconsin based organization; the Freedom from Religion Foundation, for praying over the intercom at high school football games.

They may try to take God and prayer out of the schools, but as long as Christians are there, they can not completely stop it!

Now….. If we as adults would just sit back…look at the young folks and take some lessons from them and get just as bold in our witness for Him, what a REVIVAL we would have in Tennessee!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fear & Anxiety


Fear & Anxiety of the Unknown...

The turkey has been eaten, shopping has started, decorations are appearing and the count-down is here. While reflecting on this month of “Thanksgiving” my husband and I have a lot to be thankful for.

I mentioned in my first blog that God had given us two wonderful Christian children, a great Christian son-in-law and an awesome Christian girlfriend. We are so thankful for their strong Christian faith because all in less than a year, both of our children have faced or will be facing
“Fear & Anxiety of the Unknown”.

Our daughter and her husband had lived in the same town since they got married. Kacie had been teaching Math at a Middle School and last spring was her tenure year. Chase had been working for the NRCS, but his job was not a permanent job. We had all been praying hard for his job situation. The day Kacie found out she was being recommended for tenure at her school, Chase found out that he had been hired permanently with the NRCS in Cleveland, TN…two hours away.
What bitter-sweet joy!

To shorten the story, Chase took the job and moved in with us from April until July. Kacie stayed in Cookeville to finish out the school year and to tie up the loose ends there. This was a scary time for them. Would Kacie be able to find a teaching job in an area where they were laying teachers off? Where would they live? Would it be possible to find another church, especially Sunday School to replace, the one they had enjoyed for three years?

Kacie got a job teaching 8th grade Math. They found a place to live, met some new friends and have found a new church. (God worked it all out.)

We are just a few weeks away from our son, Cody’s college graduation; where he will be graduating from TTU in Cookeville with a degree in biology with a concentration in Fisheries. He has already gotten hired with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer with the Nashville District as a Lake Ranger. He will be moving to Lake Barkley in Kentucky shortly after Christmas to begin his new job on January 18th where he will spend one year in training.

We are so excited and proud for him. God has blessed him with a good job at a time when jobs are very hard to come by. The “mama” part of me wants to move with him and protect him, even though he is twenty-one years old. I know…five hours away is not that far and it is only for one year. The “mama hen” part of me does not always see things clearly. Smile.

He is excited, but nervous and there are lots of unanswered questions: Where will he live? Will he like his new job? Will he be homesick? How will the long-distance relationship with Mel go? Where will he be placed in one year?

This is a time in Cody’s life when he will have to trust in God and turn it all over to Him just like his sister and brother-in-law had to a few months ago.

I am sure it will be a great experience for him. He loves hunting and fishing so he will be living in paradise! God has a perfect plan for his life. And like his sister, when God puts all of the pieces together, it will be great.

The positive part of this is since his “training year” is so far away, he is guaranteed that his permanent lake (which he will be placed at in one year) will be closer to home. (There I go again. It is hard to hold the “mama” back. Smile.)

Sometimes when faced with situations that we have no control over; whether it is a job, re-location, sickness, etc. ---we fear the unknown. God is in control of EVERYTHING in our lives. All we have to do it turn it all over to him. It is such a simple lesson; one that we all know, but one that many times is hard to do. Truthfully, none of us know what tomorrow holds, so we are wise to let go and give God the flashlight, so He can guide the way.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord …” (Psalm 37:23)
”A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Give thanks . . . for He is Good"

"Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever."
Psalm 106:1

Tonight, my house is quiet. The turkey has been eaten. The china has been washed, dried and put away. The joys of Black Friday consisted of a slow day at home. Right now, I can hear Piper, my 20 month-old, snoring in the baby monitor. Wally is watching a blow-out of a football game. And I am surrounded by the loosely-organized chaos of decorating for Christmas.

I don't know what these last few days have held for you, but I am betting that your house may be a little like mine tonight. You've baked, cooked, cleaned, loved, shopped, decorated, entertained and now you can take a moment to catch your breath. At least I thought I would.

I thought I would take a moment and post what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  • Him. Jesus, and His steadfast love that endures forever.
  • My husband, the godly leader of our home and fantastic father of our girls.
  • Riley and Piper, who ever lead me to seek God either in petition or praise.
  • The many blessings that He has made me a steward of - our home, resources, and days.
  • Ministry, whether through church, PTO, friendships. Those either long-planned or spontaneous opportunities to serve Him.
I am SO blessed.

What about you? Let me challenge you to stop, take a moment and put to words the things you are most thankful for this year. You could even post them to this blog ; )

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Most High,"
"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!" Psalm 50: 14 & 23

Okay, so God is still showing me some things about thanksgiving this week. (I love the way He so patiently teaches me!) I read this passage yesterday morning in my quiet time and, of course, the verses on thanksgiving stood out to me.

In this passage God is telling His people that He doesn't want the animal sacrifices that the people were giving because they weren't giving them with the right attitude. There was no thanksgiving in it, just ritual. They were sacrificing because they had to, not because they wanted to.

As I thought about what an offering of thanksgiving looked like, I realized that it was all about attitude and more conviction from my husband's sermon came back to me. I can do all the right things, at the right time and seem like I am doing them the right way. I may even fool the "right" people, but not be at all right before God.

As a minister's wife, sometimes I feel like I do not have a choice or voice in my duties. I do them because I have to, because I am expected to, not because I really want to. My heart just isn't in it and there is no thanksgiving in my sacrifice.

So, what is a sacrifice of thanksgiving? This is what I believe the Lord showed me:

A sacrifice costs us something. We must give up something for something else. For me, this holiday season I am giving up the need to be right, the longing to be heard, and the selfish want to just duck out of some responsibilities altogether. I am laying down these weary, selfish, sinful desires in order to choose to be thankful.

Don't get me wrong. This is not going to be easy; but then is it really a sacrifice if it comes easy? Plus I know that the Holy Spirit will help me. I just have to ask. So as I "perform my vows to the Most High" and "order my way rightly," I will do so as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and know that He will "show (me) the salvation of God!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Choose To Be Glad

"The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad." Psalm 126:2

This was one of the verses in my Bible reading this morning and I found it quite fitting for the Monday before Thanksgiving.

I don't know about things at your house and church, but at mine, things seem to really be gearing up. Christmas parties, projects and ministries are either being planned or in full swing. There are trips to pack for, dishes to prepare and parcels to package. My to-do list is growing and growing. For everything I seem to be able to cross off, I add at least two more items on.

Sometimes the happiest times of the year can be the craziest and hardest to allow ourselves to enjoy. So, after reading this verse this morning and in an effort to apply what I heard my husband preach yesterday, I am choosing this year to be glad.

The table may not look like a magazine layout on Thursday. The tree may not be decorated by the week's end. This may not be the year I actually get Christmas cards mailed. BUT, I have decided to let these things go so I may remember the great things the Lord has done for us and BE GLAD.

I am praying God will help me to prioritize, so that this year the holidays will be remembered for what we remembered, (those things that God has done for us), and for the gladness that He has given us through them.

This year, I am challenging you and your house to make this choice for yourselves, your family and your ministry. Think of the amazing things that God could do if you were seeking Him instead of that must-have gift. Choose now what your priorities will be, before you are sucked in and sucked under! No body should drown in the tinsel this year! Choose to be glad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Every Other Row

Several years ago a precious, Godly, young couple in our church moved to a new town about an hour or two away. One of the first things they did was to set out to find a new church to fellowship with, serve with and grow with.

This great couple barely made it through the back doors of the small church before the service started. They had their two young daughters in tow along with coats and purses and Bibles and backpacks that were overflowing with coloring books, crayons and other sundry items to keep the girls occupied during the service. Fortunately for them they found a place near the back so they could slip in just as the first verse was in full swing.

Just as they had gotten themselves situated….someone from behind was tapping them on the shoulder whispering loudly to them, “Every Other Row!!!” Not sure what they were saying, the lady repeated even louder, “EVERY OTHER ROW!!” Then it hit them! Looking around them, sure enough, people were sitting on every other row….everyone but them, that is!!

So, wanting to comply with their “rules” they began to pack up all their “stuff” and move to an “other” row. Much to their dismay….and the disruption to the entire service….the only place left was all of the way to the front of the church. There they go, girls and bags and books and coats in tow, to the very first pew. Come to find out….the people in that church sit in “every other row” because the ushers walk down the rows to serve the Lord’s supper.

Fortunately, this couple were believers….but what if someone had come to seek God and sat in the "wrong" row? Would this church's traditions and rules have kept them from wanting to know Him?

What do you think would have been a better way for the church member to have handled it?

Do you, my fellow pastor’s wife have any “rules” or traditions that might be rigid? Needless? I heard someone say that their senior pastor’s wife wants all of “her” staff wives to wear dresses or skirts and pantie hose on Sundays. Jesus spoke quite a bit about being like the Pharisees. Let’s take a look at what we “require” of others and think about setting people free instead of binding them up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In Their Shoes

Approximately two years ago we moved to a wonderful church near Indianapolis and this Titans fan has found herself in the midst of massive Colts fans! As I mentioned in my last post…each area has their own set of "rules”, traditions, and vocabularies and even after being here nearly two years, I still am learning them!!
  • We have “pitch-ins” in Indiana—in Texas and Tennessee they were called “pot luck”.
  • My husband is no longer “Brother” Ernie (except to those who are from the South) he is “Pastor” Ernie. In fact, all staff members are referred to as Pastors….which indeed they are!! By the way….for future reference….whenever I use the word “pastor” or “pastor’s wife” it includes NOT just “senior pastor” but all ministers.
  • “Pop” or “soda” means Coke or soft drink. In my case, it means Dr. Pepper!
  • Their bridal and baby showers last several hours with games….not drop-in. I learned that the hard way as I arrived VERY late and had to leave early!!
  • Every graduating senior has an open house.

You might be wondering why in the world I am bringing all of this up!! There is a beautiful, helpful, practical ministry needed to help those who move into our towns or churches. Often we expect people to know the “rules” and the traditions and the terminology that our town and churches have.

Think about it….what is the name you have for your Senior Adult ministry? Singles ministry? Youth? Most churches give different ministries names that are catchy and clever but when there are announcements with those titles, do all the people know what they are referring to?

Put yourself in the shoes of an outsider and see how you could better communicate ministries that are available. Better yet, take someone under your wing and “show them the ropes“! We all may know that the “Joys of Christmas” is an event for women....but do the new people know this? We all know that Acteens are for teenage girls to learn about missions….but does everyone?

When you go to church Sunday….take a look around…..look at the surroundings of your building….look at the wording in your bulletin…..signs….words used in Sunday School and see it fresh and anew and see if perhaps you have rules, traditions and vocabulary that might be confusing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Learning the Rules

One thing that pastors families have in common with other “occupations” such as the military or sales or missionaries, are that we often ‘get’ to move to new places. (Notice that I did not say ‘have’ to move? I think it is important to be sure to use positive wording with sometimes unfavorable topics…especially with our children). I find it interesting that each new country or state or county or town has its own set of “rules” or phrases or traditions that I must learn and embrace in order to “fit in” or even be able to communicate well with the people!


I will start with when we moved to West Tennessee from Texas…which, initially, was somewhat of a culture shock for me.

We had been at our new church for a few months and I was attending a ladies Sunday school class. The odd thing is that I had never been in a Sunday school class that I was not teaching!! I did not become a Believer until I was in high school and did not know that Sunday school even existed…I went to Bible studies but not Sunday school. When I married Ernie and went to our first church in Kingsville, TX I started teaching youth in Sunday school….and have done so ever since.


Back to that day in Sunday school….our precious, lovely, fun teacher was compassionately conveying a very important point and to illustrate she said, “We all know what it’s like to slaughter a hog!!!” Well, dear sisters, this Dallas girl definitely did NOT know how to slaughter a hog, nor did I want to!!

A few other things I learned…When someone says:

  • “I’m carrying mom to the doctor” she means she is driving them there.
  • “She has been ill for so long I wish she’d get over it” means she has been in a foul mood.
  • “I got it at Creekmore’s across the street from the church” she means she got it at the grocery store that was named Creekmore’s….but the name was changed years ago.
  • "Hey Brother Ernie!!" they are not referring to him as a biological brother but a brother in Christ. So, why are only ministers called brothers? Why are not women called sisters? I am digressing....
Showers/Teas/Coffees/Parties for brides and new moms are also different in each area. Where we lived in TN the bride did not unwrap her gifts….they were either opened by the hostesses (for people like me who did not know to bring it unwrapped) or people brought them unwrapped or the store delivered them and placed them on tables. I will never forget the first time I went to a bridal "event" after spending a lot of time and effort wrapping and creating a beautiful package....that the bride never saw!! But I quickly learned that it was quite freeing to not have to wrap gifts!!

I love how each area has their own set of “rules” and it really is fun learning about the different “cultures”....but how can we find just the right people who will to introduce us to these “rules” and help us get accustomed to our new place? And how important to treasure and embrace their ways of doing things!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Human Moments-Continued

I think I hit a cord with some wives in yesterday's post when I asked how God's sense of humor made us or our families look human to our congregation. The comment posted had me reeling with laughter and brought to mind another human moment in my family.


Our youngest son, Bryan, has always been an active, imaginative child. Even at twenty-four years of age, he can weave a tall tale and never blink an eye. (I personally think he aquired this talent from his Grandpa Lee and Great-Grandfather Ward.)


When Bryan was in Mother's Day Out as a preschooler, he often had his teacher and the director in stitches. One day my precious child made a new friend at school. Unfortuately, Gabe did not speak good English because he had just come to the states from Puerto Rico. When Gabe began asking the teacher a question, the teacher could not understand him. With his imagination on full throttle, Bryan excitedly stated, "Oh that's okay teacher. I understand Gabe. You see, we speak in tongues at our church."


Needless to say Bryan's preschool teacher and the director met me in the hallway after class. Standing in front of me, they were laughing so hard they could barely talk. Shaking my head, I could only reply, "What did Bryan do now?"


Girlfriends, God does have a sense of humor. If we take ourselves and the ministry too seriously, He will place something in our face that makes us laugh. Better yet when we attempt to cover up our very human moments, God will pull back the curtains on our glass house and reveal those human moments to the world. Oh girls, just learn to laugh and be real!


So share more stories with me. I love it and I need a good laugh.

(As I was writing this post, Bryan walked in. When I told him what I was blogging about, he said to tell you that God gave him a great imagination and he is not wasting that talent.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Human Moments

I have just returned from our convention's state meeting. I was so blessed to have been able to attend our two special events for ministers wives: The Good Cup and the Ministers Wives Luncheon. Girlfriends, both events were a great time of fellowship, fun, and yes, even chocolate!



One of the topics that was discussed around the table was how God, with his ultimate sense of humor, makes us or our families human toward our congregation. Well girls, I was sitting at the back of the room and could hear the peels of laughter coming from each table. Unfortuately, I could not hear the stories being told but my mind certainly began rolling the tape of my very human family.



Many years back my husband was being interviewed by a pulpit committee. This group of men drove several hours to listen to my husband and then we loaded our children, then not yet two and five, into the car and drove to a restaurant. Lunch went well. The boys were behaving like little troopers and the interview went into full swing.



As you know children will be children and I have to believe that God decided that my boys had done very well so He wanted to throw a few curve balls in to the meeting. First, my oldest announced to the group, "I have to go to the bathroom and poo poo." (Yes girlfriends, right in the front of the pulpit committee!) Since the bathroom was just through the door and I could see who might go in, I allowed Mr. Independent so to alone. I should have known that something was about to happen. A few minutes pass and Stephen does not return. I take my youngest to the door and told him to check on his brother. Suddenly, I hear giggling and almost two year old Bryan yelling, "Bubba's stuck in the potty and can't get out!" Yep, everyone in the room and restaurant heard him. My poor husband quickly excuses himself in order to rescue our son.



With the potty scene settled, my husband returns and I place the boys in the corner with a bag full of toys. Life is flowing quietly and I get caught up in the interview. I wish I could tell you everything went smoothly from there but no, God was not through with his humor.



Right in the middle of the interview, Bryan quietly snuck under the table, crawled over to one of the pulpit members and began barking, yes barking, like a dog! I was completely mortified. I am thinking to myself "just ignore him and the committee will not notice." No, Bryan continued to bark louder and one of the gentleman began to pat his head like a dog. Now, everyone at the table is laughing and the interview ends. We gather our belongings and buckle into the car. As we are waving goodbye to the committee, my husband says while smiling, "Wave everyone because that is the last time we will ever hear from this church again." Two months later we were the new pastor family at this church. Their reason for calling us-we were human.



So girlfriends, I have shared one of my family's human moments. Now it is time for you to share with me. Nothing is too embarassing or funny. After all God DOES have a sense of humor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Special Invitation

Hey Sisters,
Do you like to have fun and fellowship with other ladies? Do you prefer chocolate over vegetables? Are you into FREE stuff? Are you up for winning fabulous door prizes such as cruise or a free week vacation? Well girlfriends, I want to invite you to two special events at state convention next week that are geared just for ministers wives.



The Good Cup (FREE!!)
Grace Baptist Church (Cullum Hall), 7171 Oak Ridge Hwy, Knoxville, TN
Monday, November 8 from 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Special Guest: Jeff and Debbie McElroy, Forever Families Ministries
This event is geared toward ministers wives who want to come together for food and
fellowship. It is an opportunity for you to come and just be YOU. We will also have a panel
made up of ministers wives from across the state to discuss questions you have.



Ministers Wives Luncheon ($15)
Wallace Memorial Baptist Church (Atrium), 701 Merchant Dr., Knoxville
Tuesday, November 9 from Noon-!:30 p.m.
Special Guest: Jeff and Debbie McElroy, Forever Families Ministries and Grace Praise
Team, Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville
Come share in a meal with other ministers wives across the state. At this event everyone
walks away with a goodie bag filled with little surprises. Also, there will be many door
prizes given away which include a free week vacation and a cruise!!!



Girlfriends, I love both of these events and let me explain why. Four years ago my husband and I moved to Tennessee and left family and friends. I was so lonely. I was just a lost lamb walking among strangers. However, God placed Lana Rose, TBC staff person and who is over ministers wives in the state, and she helped me find my place among Tennessee Baptist. I have been so blessed for the past three years to serve on two committees with our state convention working with ministers and ministers wives. During this time I have met some awesome sisters in the ministry who will be forever friends.



So dear girlfriends, I hope to see you at The Good Cup and the luncheon this week. We promise lots of laughter and possibly a few tears. Oh yeah, look me up. I'll be the blonde chick hovering around the chocolate dessert area!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Stopped in My Tracks

Well sweet sisters, I am suppose to be writing to you this week. If you are a regular reader you will have noticed I have only posted one time.

Last Friday I began to feel a little bad. The feeling continued and by Saturday night I was in bed, dizzy, weak, headache. I am sure you are familiar with the panicked feeling that comes when you are explaining to your body, I don't have time to be sick now. Of course, I also shared with my Heavenly Father the schedule that was layed out before me and my thoughts on what I needed from Him.

It is now Thursday and I just got out of bed to type you a quick note. I have been praying about what I needed to write, asking God what He wanted me to share. I have asked Him each day and then ended up sleeping through the day.

As I have asked Him again today about a message for you, He clearly told me that He wanted me to pray for you. Now I do not know who you are, or what is going on, but my God knows and has "stopped me in my tracks" to pray for you.

I want you to know I am lifting you up. I am asking for blessings for you and your marriage, your children, your health, your finances, and your church. Each time I wake, I ask that God gives you new energy for your call and a new love those you are serving. I am asking Him to allow you to see Him work and give you a spirit of gratitude for all He is doing. I am asking Him to grow you, stretch you and love you up.

So there you are sisters, if I have to be stopped, I count it a honor to use this time to pray for you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Preacher's Wife by Randy Davis

Ladies, let me interrupt Karen's blog this week to encourage you to go to the link below and read Randy Davis's latest blog post entitled, The Preacher's Wife. It is a beautiful tribute to his wife Jeanne but at the same time a tribute to ministers wives in general. I would encourage you to send it to your pastor/husband so he can read it also.

http://randycdavistbc.wordpress.com/

Hope to see many of you in Knoxville at The Good Cup and our annual Ministers Wives Luncheon. You can still register online at www.tnministerswives.org through Wednesday evening.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing Leaves

We all have our favorite seasons. I enjoy each season and am glad that here in Tennessee we get to experience four distinct seasons.

The leaves have just about finished changing. They have been beautiful. The oranges, reds, browns and yellows have been vibrant and breath taking this year. There are times when I am driving down the road that I need to pull off because I cannot take my eyes off God's beautiful creation. I hope you have taken time to enjoy this blessing from our Creator.

The thing that I do not like about fall, is the fact that everything is dying. As the leaves fall, they die. My flowers around my mailbox are just about gone. The flowers in the pots on my deck are all dead. It is time to pull up, throw out and get ready for the next growing season.

As you watch nature change around you, take time to let God pull up and throw out the strongholds in your life. Let those things die that have been keeping you from the abundant life we are promised. Pull up those roots of bitterness and make room for the fresh growth God wants to produce in you.

As we allow God to work in us we can be sure that His work will produce fruit. Fall and winter are a great time to spend getting to know more about our Creator. Falling deeper in love with our God will bring a beautiful spring, but we need some time to be still and let Him work. Let the old things that are not furthering God's Kingdom in your life go, pull them up and throw them out. Make room for new growth.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Good Job God!"

One of my passions in the church is the children....of all ages.



• They love to talk about God
• They invite EVERYONE to church.
• They will sing as loud as they can
• They will pray the sweetest, most innocent prayers.
• They will thank God, praise God and worship God.
• They are so excited about everything!

I have taught children of all ages (from birth to teens) at our church. I currently teach the pre-school class on Wednesday nights. I feel like the earlier we reach out to them the stronger their faith will become.

Children do not hesitate to Praise God. One of my favorite praises came from one of our two year old church boys. His mom was showing him the beautiful sunset and was explaining that God made it, when the little boy looked up in the sky, gave thumbs up and said “Good job God!” The little fellow was praising God and did not even realize it.

My husband does a Children’s Message every Sunday morning that goes right along with the regular message. Over a year ago, he had a memory verse learning contest and even though that is over, the children all continue to learn new memory verses every Sunday and he allows them time to recite their verses in the microphone. It is amazing the verses that even the pre-school children are learning.

Many lessons can be learned from our children. Their eyes have not been clouded by “experience”. They are innocent and honest and use every opportunity to Praise God! My challenge to you is to stop and observe the children. Oh, if we could only have the faith of little children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bi-Vocational----NOT Part-Time

Contrary to popular believe, Bi-Vocational does not mean Part-Time. Bi-vocational means that you have two full-time jobs and you must be creative to be successful at both.

In my fourteen years as a bi-vocational minister’s wife, I have discovered that since our church is bi-vocational, I must really put into action the work of a “help-mate” because my husband needs my help. Bi-vocational churches have the same wants, desires and needs as a full-time church…they just have less funding and they also have less members to help do the work.

Being bi-vocational means we have to find ways to stretch our time, energy and work. Also, being bi-vocational means that you do not live in the “church parsonage” and if you are like us, your home is over thirty miles from church. (We live in Rhea County. Our church is in Roane County.) The hospitals that our members attend are in Knox County, which is even further from our home.

Creativity is the key to success. We can not always “be there” in body but we can:
• Make sure our members feel loved all the time.
• Make phone calls
• Send e-mails
• Send text messages
• Send cards and/or notes

Bi-vocational churches still have hurting members, sick members, dying members, marrying members, etc. so there is always hospital visits, funerals, weddings, etc. We are fortunate to have a congregation that understands and forgives us if we are not there in body all of the time. We are always there in spirit and try to be there in body as much as possible.

Two years ago, Bro. Ray Gilder asked our daughter, Kacie to give her testimony at the Appalachian Bi-Vocational Ministers Conference and tell everyone what it was like growing up in a bi-vocational minister’s home. She pretty much summed everything up. She said….”whoever said that Sundays were a day of rest, lied. That is the day that bi-vocational ministers do a lot of their visiting and ministering.” Our children learned to do a lot of traveling…and not usually to places they really cared to go. Through it all, they learned how to:
• Visit in homes that did not always have children
• Visit people they did not know
• Eat food that they were not particularly fond of
• Visit hospitals
• Visit the elderly
• Visit nursing homes
• Visit funeral homes.
• Truly Love People

It was just a way of their lives!

Bi-vocational ministers work 8-10 hours during the daytime at their secular jobs and the evenings and weekends are spent doing “church work”, while making time for our own families. My husband and I do the work together and while our children were at home, we did it as a family. It wasn’t always easy, but it was certainly worth it.

Being a bi-vocational family is very challenging, yet rewarding ministry.
Joshua 24:15 “…As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord!”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God Uses Ordinary People

While we were dating, Roger told me he felt that God was calling him into the ministry. I cried when I got home from that date. My dad was a minister and that was fine and good, but I did not think that I wanted that for my life. I wanted for us to be active in the church, but I just wanted a “normal life”. At the time, Roger assured me that God was calling him into the ministry, but he did not feel he was suppose to pastor, especially at that time. Whew….that was a relief!!!

We went ahead, got married after seven years of dating and together served God in many areas: Bus Ministry, Children’s Church Ministry, Puppet Ministry, Youth Leaders, Teachers, etc. My husband served as Youth Minister, Minister of Music, etc. for seventeen years. During this time, Roger would fill the pulpit when asked to, so it was not unusual that Whites Creek Baptist Church would call him to supply that cold Sunday morning in January 1997.

The first Sunday we were at the church, they had twelve for Sunday-School and thirty-two for preaching and we were four of those! The youngest deacon’ at 77 years old, praised God that Sunday morning for the large crowd they had for the visiting minister. (I might add that the church building was brand new. The state changed the two-lane to a four-lane and got the old church, so we were in a very nice, but empty church.)

After several weeks of “filling in” as pastor, the deacons came to my husband and told him that God was leading them to call him as their bi-vocational pastor.

We prayed and prayed about it. I was scared to death. We both felt that was where God was leading us. I kept telling Roger that I did not know “how to” be a pastor’s wife. I told him that we had sat under "good pastors" and "bad pastors" so he had something to go by. I could not think of ANY pastor’s wife that was "anything like me", so I just did not know how I could fill those shoes.

After lots of praying, God revealed to me that he was calling Roger and me to the church. He did not want me “be like the other pastors’ wives, he wanted me to be ME!
Isn’t God Awesome!!! For fourteen years, he has used ME as a pastor's wife...and

  • I do not play the piano, except "a hunt a peck."
  • I can not "sing."
  • I am not "Ms. WMU."
  • I am not "Ms. Fashion Queen."
  • I am not full of "Great Wisdom."

I am just “Kathy” and God has used me more by just being me. He called me and He does not make mistakes. He knew that even though I did not fit the “normal characteristics” of a Pastor’s Wife, He could use me and has for the past, almost fourteen years. (I will address my roles in the church in later posts.)

Are you allowing God to truly use you? Are you being true to yourself and being “You” so he CAN use you? He wants us to be ourselves so He can use us. He made us all special and for a purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beauty of Fall

Just Plain ‘Ole Me

I am very humbled and honored to be a part of this talented and spiritual writing staff. I do not feel worthy or adapt in joining it, since I have never “blogged” before, but Lana asked me. I prayed about it and God said “do it”. Who am I to argue with that?

I will give you a brief bio; which is a joke in itself. I am a very detailed person and my husband is a very “to-the-point” type person, so he is constantly telling me to go ahead and "birth the baby…he does not need the nine months of pregnancy". Smile. I am sorry, but in this blog, you will get just plain DETAILED me in the nine month version.

My name is Kathy and I am a bi-vocational minister’s wife. I have been married to Roger Britton for thirty-one years. We are both originally from Alabama however we have lived in Dayton, TN for a little over sixteen years. God has blessed us with two beautiful Christian children, a Christian son-in-law and a Christian girlfriend. Kacie is a Math teacher and is married to Chase. Cody graduates from college in December and he is dating Melanie. Some people have grandchildren….we have grand-dogs; Fanny, the Australian Sheppard that belongs to Kacie & Chase and Lady Bird, the Jack Russell that belongs to Cody which he shares with his girlfriend, Mel. As my husband says, “We are having fun practicing on our grand-dogs. One day we will have real grandchildren and the dogs will become just dogs.”

I taught school for six years and then was a stay-at-home mom for a total of 17½ years. When our daughter was a senior and our son was in the 8th grade, God blessed my husband with a secular job where he could work from home. (He is a computer guy.) I went back to college to get re-certified after 23½ years and have been teaching in the public school system for eight years, where I currently teach Technology/Computers to 6th Graders. (God has a sense of humor....I learned to type on a manuel typewriter!!)

I have been a pastor’s wife for almost fourteen years, but I will address that in another post.

When Lana first approached me about being a writer for the TN PRIME RIB Blog, my first thought was…why me? I am just plain ole Kathy. I don’t have anything to share. Who would want to read what I write? And then God spoke to my heart. He created me in His own image because of this…I am not just plain ole Kathy and with His help, I will attempt to share my heart in these blogs.
Psalm 139:13-14. 13” For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Totally Unrelated Additional Question


Okay Ladies, I am sure you can tell there is a lot going on right now at the Vinson house. It seems as though my days just run together with tasks, big and little. God is blessing and teaching so much to all of us along the way. I have had to learn to make myself stop multi-tasking and just focus on the moment. However, this is not one of those moments.

It is looking like I will be hosting the Vinson family Thanksgiving dinner this year. It is only my second time to host and I am extremely thankful for a father-in-law who will smoke more turkey than we could possibly begin to eat. Everyone brings a dish or two and I know it will be a great time.

So, because I know that Thursday will be here before we know it, and I don't think I am blogging again in time, I would love to know what holiday dishes, traditions, and decorations that have become a part your Thanksgiving days. Are there special spiritual components that turn your family's focus back toward God? Having small children, I am always looking for new ways to point them back to their Heavenly Father.

I am hoping that asking this early will give us all an opportunity to try something new this Thanksgiving. Who knows, maybe it will become another family's tradition?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Apology and a Question

Is it my turn already? Please forgive me ladies for not posting earlier this week. I know you can all relate when I say that it has been one of those weeks. I should have double checked the schedule earlier in the week. I am sorry.

Believing you to all be gracious and forgiving, I now have a question for you:

What are you reading?

Is it fiction? Non-fiction? Spiritual? Secular?
Are you reading magazines? If so, which ones?
What other blogs do you follow? Websites?

I enjoy a good read and would love to know what sparks your interest. I am always looking for something new.

Right now I am looking through two secular mags, Family Fun and Real Simple. I have just begun Ted Dekker's novel Green (I finished Black, Red, and White a long time ago). This year, my husband and I are reading through the Bible together. This week we read Lamentations and have begun Ezekiel.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pastor Appreciation: Random Thoughts

Shawna's and TXGirl's comments have kept me pondering this whole idea of appreciating our pastors....whether they are our husbands or someone else. Here are a few final random thoughts.
  1. I LOVE the idea of doing something special for our pastor husband in appreciation for what he does!! Because, if you are honest, there are times when you definitely do NOT appreciate what he does!! Especially if you have small children, if you are not careful, you can grow to resent his time away. Fix his favorite meal, wear his favorite _____:), go with him to do what he loves to do....or watch what he loves to watch....even if you do not.
  2. As my husband and I were discussing last night what we might do to honor those who serve on staff with us, it occurred to me that we must be sure our motive and attitudes are pure. If our attitude is... "FINE!! If YOU all won't appreciate us, we'll just do it ourselves!!".... then we must halt....stop....go to the Father and confess! Pure motives only!!
  3. If your husband is the senior pastor you might suggest that he share publicly with the Body either through the pulpit or a newsletter article his appreciation for those who labor with him. Or, perhaps give an extra day off one week to spend time with their family....and your husband could pick up the slack!! Have them over for lunch, invite the wives and see if the church secretaries would mind keeping children. I know there are many wives who work outside the home and this would not be feasible for them....just throwing out suggestions!!
  4. Do something special for the wives you know. Notes. Lunch or tea or after dinner dessert at your home.

Finally, just in case you don't know it....YOU, my friend are appreciated!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pastor Appreciation: Praying for Them

In the last post, I mentioned that we might "think outside of the box" when it comes to pastor appreciation month and one of the most essential and practical things we can do for our pastors.....pastor husbands included...is to pray. Below is a list I compiled that you might want to use as a guide for some specific things you can pray. Perhaps you might want to post these on your refrigerator or mirror as a constant reminder to bring them before our ever hearing Father.

What better way to show your appreciation for all they do than to let them know you are praying. There have been many times when I honestly thought I was the only one praying for my husband...and it is a heavy load to bear. Just like in Exodus 17 "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset." Ladies, what a ministry we could have!!! Our pastors grow weary and tired and we MUST "hold their hands up" through prayer so that the enemy would not win!!

Why not make a list of what you are praying and send it to another pastor or even their wife? Oh, what incredible joy and comfort it would bring me, as a pastor's wife, if I knew there were people praying these things for my husband! Why not let your husband know you are praying these specific things for him?

1. For protection from the work of satan and from sin.
2. For insight into scripture and an understanding of how to apply it to people.
3. To help him keep a soft heart in the face of difficult people.
4. For his personal spiritual growth and time with the Lord.
5. For a passion for the Word and for God and for His Church.
6. For boldness to speak the truth, and grace to speak it with humility.
7. Grace to hear and respond to Godly, constructive feedback.
8. That he would persevere through whatever trial he is facing.
9. That his children would grow up with a love for God and the Church.
10. That he would remain pure, and that his love for his wife would increase.
11. That you would know how to encourage him today.
12. That he would be saturated with the Holy Spirit.
13. For Godly wisdom to lead.
14. For him to make wise choices.
15. For his wife and children

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pastor Appreciation Month

Did you know that according to LibrarySupportStaff.com, that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month? National Popcorn month? International Dinosaur month? Diversity Awareness month? National Stamp Collecting month? Yet, somewhere I heard that October is also Pastor Appreciation month….I wonder why they don’t mention that?? LibrarySupportStaff.com and/or your church might not know that October is Pastor Appreciation month….but I am pretty sure that you are definately aware of it.

Many of you and your husbands will be showered with “attaboys” and “sussys” (that is what I affectionately call gifts, surprises, etc.) and cards and encouragements to let you know just how much you are loved and appreciated. Your church consistently communicates to you, not just during the month of October but during each and every month, that God is using you mightily and that they are thankful for the time and love and sacrifice and service you so willingly pour out.

However, there are some of you who each year as October approaches wonders if this will finally be the year that your church does something to recognize your husband. You would be thankful for just one card from someone who says they are praying for you all. Just a word of encouragement. Something. Anything. And yet the month goes by again without a word.

What are we to do? We have options. We can pout and get discouraged and depressed and maybe even bitter and angry. Or we can know, Biblically, that “our labor is not in vain in the Lord”. That “whatsoever we do, do it unto the Lord and not unto man”.

Here’s an idea. Whether you are in the first group mentioned above….totally lavished upon….or the second group….feeling totally put upon….why don’t YOU do something for another pastor and their wife/family? Why should we think that the appreciation has to come from "them" and not "us"? If you are in a multiple staff church….do something special for the other ministers/pastors and wives/families. If you are the only one on staff at your church….why not bless another pastor in your association or city? Or bless a minister’s family that you know of.

There are countless things that we could do….ideas that are not costly or difficult. Would you share with us any ideas and/or suggestions you have with us so we can be a blessing to another? There are lots of days left in October....go for it!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Money Saving Tips

Girlfriend, the weather is begining to change and the days are growing shorter. God is splashing color on the leaves. I love this time of year. However, I know that the holidays are approaching as well. It means gifts to purchase and food to prepare. It also means chocolate fudge, cocoa, and other chocolate goodies. In addition to the holidays financial stress can become an issue with all the extras that take place.

I am a couponer. I love to get items free. One of my fellow staff wives is the "coupon queen" and she is always telling me about her awesome "deals" she has scored. I just get excited when I score husband's body wash and deodorant for free when I catch them on sale and use my coupons. So with the holidays aproaching quickly, I thought it might be fun to share some of your money saving tips with all of us. I would also love cheap, fun, cute gift or party ideas.


One of my favorite haunts for shopping is Michael's dollar bins. I purchase cute notepads, sticky notes, and journals to name a few. Throughout the year I give these items as "love ya" hugs to different girlfriends. They also make great stocking stuffers. Another fav is to head to Bath and Body Works with coupons for free trial size item. I save these goodies and make cute little Christmas bags for the female members of my family.

One minister's wife shares that she buys toys early in the seaon. For instance, she heads to Target usually in February and again July/August and purchases toys for up to 95% off. She also does shopping the day after Christmas. This year she plans to purchase lots of girly lotion/makeup for all her daughter's friends and give them at the birthday parties throughout the year.


My "coupon queen" staff wife says she uses eBay for toy shopping. Many times she will score toys for $20-$50 cheaper. She also uses coupons.com and gets Hasbro and Fisherprice coupons quite often.

So girlfriends, do you have money saving tips, favorite websites for saving, or gift and party ideas? Please share them with us. Let's get these comments coming because the holiday rush is on!


Websites you might want to check out:
southersavers.com
freebies.com
Yahoo!Finance-financiallyfit.yahoo.com
coupons.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Don't Know What I Need

During worship service Sunday I heard a beautiful song. I do not recall the title or who it was by. However, there were a couple of lines that captured my heart's attention.


When I don't know what I need,
I need to get on my knees.
When I don't have the strength to stand,
I need to reach for Your hand.


All I could whisper was "wow" to those words. Sometimes I cannot find the words to voice to God because I truly "don't know what I need." Only the Father knows exactly what I need from Him that day. Sometimes my strength is zapped from overwork or too many obligations. All I really want to do is to stay in bed for a few more hours of sleep. There are times when the enemy has attacked my life and I question "what's the use?" That is when God's hand is reaching out for me to take hold of. He helps me stand again.


However, you will notice in the lyrics that the action of doing something about our need or strength has to come from us. We have to KNEEL. We must REACH out for God's hand. We are the ones who have walked way, turned our backs, or tackled too much stuff. The Father is still right where we left Him. He never moved. Sisters, I hate to be the first to admit it but chocolate will not even help. We have to get to a helpless state before we really cry out to God and say "I don't know what to do or what I need."


So Sisters, what do you need today? Are you on your knees? Is your hand reaching for the Father's hand?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Great Escape

I think middle Tennessee is safe from an explosion for a while longer. I personally know that a disaster was averted and peace has been restored. Maybe I should explain in more detail.


Over the past few weeks and months I have been overwhelmed with issues. In the spring I suffered a severe allergy/sinus infection. May brought the flood of the century. During the summer months I spent my time recovery from a herinated neck disk. Top all these issues with church and family responsibilities and you have one stressed-out, overwhelmed, empty and weary minister's wife. I even told my church staff wives that if I did not get away I was going to explode all over Bellevue. I was literally on the verge of running away and only taking a five pound bag of peanut M & Ms with me!


Instead God had other plans. He already knew what my life was going to be like. Several months ago He nudged Lana Rose, who heads up ministers wives events through the Tennessee State Convention, to pull a group of ladies together to plan a fall retreat for ministers wives in our state. He knew that to prevent the burnout of a minister's wife that the retreat needed to be in the peaceful, beautiful setting of the foothills of the Smokies. He knew that other wives just like me would be attending. We all would need encouragement, rest, laughter and chocolate.


Well sisters, the retreat was just last weekend and it was perfectly timed by a Lord who knows just when to step in to renew His children. I for one was completely blessed through the fellowship, breakout sessions, and the love poured on all of us. We came in very casual clothes; not Sunday dress up garb. Sisters, there were no panty hose at this retreat. Jeans, flip-flops, and ponytails were welcome. My only regret was that the retreat ended all too quickly and all the sisters had to go back to the real world.


The drive home with my staff wives from my church was a blessing. We talked, laughed and enjoyed an array of chocolate goodies. At one point during the ride home, I remembered that Jesus had to escape the crowds and demands of ministry so He could be renewed and communicate with the Father. I even asked the question to the Father if His Son ever felt like exploding because He was overwhelmed.


So sisters, when was your last great escape? Was it a retreat, a spa day, a lunch date or a walk in the park? If you attended this retreat, I would love to hear your thoughts about the weekend.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love, Cherish and Wait!

When I married Doug I gladly took those traditional wedding vows. I was so excited, so young and so naive.

As we began to serve together I discovered there was something left out of those vows. It is the word "WAIT".

I would fix dinner and just as it was ready to serve the phone would ring. "Honey, I have to go to the hospital for a quick visit with someone. Could we WAIT on dinner?"

Every Sunday my pastor husband stood at that door shaking hands. The boys and I would talk to those around us. Finally, the last person was going out the door and I would hear, "Pastor, do you have a few minutes to talk?" He would look over at me with our three young sons and I knew, WAIT.

I learned early on to bring snacks, games and even a small pillow in the car, just in case.

In James we are told that patience will make us perfect, complete and lacking nothing. God certainly used ministry with Doug to learn patience. You know, now that I think about it, we lacked nothing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tropical Storms

Sisters, the phone is ringing and women are calling for help. Marriage problems, prodigal children, loss of jobs, death, health failing and the list goes on.

This morning in the news they are warning those along the east coast about tropical storms. They are being asked to be prepared. I imagine grocery store lines are getting long and hardware stores are selling flashlights and batteries. I saw people stacking bags of sand to try and stop some of the water.

We have been told that trials will come. James says "My brethren(sisters)Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

We have all heard many sermons on this verse. As I listened to one of my dear sisters in Christ cry on the phone yesterday, I was reminded that trials are coming and we need to be prepared. The thing is,sandbags will not hold back the trials any more than they can stop water. Trials will come. We don't have to look for batteries to stay in the Light, we have the Light.

As we serve we will be called upon to minister to those in trials. My friend did not need me to quote scripture or give her advice. She needed someone to listen and hurt with her. She needed to be loved on and accepted right in the middle of her trial. Because of your personal trials, You will be able to feel her hurt and have compassion.

You are in a special place to reach out and hear, touch, love those hurting around you. Today let's be ready to "Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Asked and Answered

I recently spoke at a Living Proof Live Event in Richmond, Virginia. Of course, Beth Moore was the speaker at the LPL part and several minister’s wives along with myself did breakout sessions before it started. Our sessions were for minister’s wives.

I love being with those special ladies. It was a wonderful time of sharing, learning, praying and praising.

One of the last sessions we had together was a time of questions and answers. This is always one of my favorite times. I am not surprised the same questions are posed in different circumstances over and over again. Women married to ministers face some things that only they can understand.

One question that came up in different forms sounded something like the following. “How do I deal with the woman who does not like me?” “What am I suppose to do with the person who constantly criticizes my husband/children?” “Is there a way to handle the person who calls herself my friend and slanders me behind my back?” “How many times do I apologize and forgive when I am not at fault?”

Do any of these questions sound familiar? Do you have a different version of one of these questions?

We can only get these answered in one place. Counselors can give suggestions, friends may have ideas, but Jesus clearly knew what this problem felt like and had the answer

We are told in Matthew 18 that Peter asked how many times he had to forgive. Jesus answered in verse 22. “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Luke 6 tells us “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

Romans 12:20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Sweet sisters, we know the answer, we just want an easier way. Jesus was very clear that it is not easy to follow Him, but it is always worth it! We must need lots of practice in the area of loving enemies and forgiveness as the opportunities just keep coming.

I am praying for you to be obedient and have victory!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do You Make God Smile?

I live to make You smile.
I live to bring You honor.
I won't be satisfied
Until every eye is on You
And as I stand before You in this holy place.
May you be glorfied
'cause I live to make You smile.



Our music minister, Todd Green, recently wrote a beautiful song entitled "I Live to Make You Smile." The words are so moving and when he sung the chorus, I truly felt ashamed of the times that I have not brought a smile to God's face. You know those times when people cannot be pleased and you just get so tired and weary you wonder why your ministering family just cannot be a "normal" household. How about the times when you turn around and walk away because you see someone heading down the church hallway that you would rather not deal with on today?



Can you recall times when your own children made you smile? Having raised two sons who are now adults I can still remember the times they brought me beautiful flowers (weeds) from the backyard. I fondly recall the nightly routine of playing the "imaginate" game (named by our oldest son). We would imagine we were traveling all over the world or universe and naming everything we could see. One of my favorite times was when my boys and I created Ninja Turtle brownie pizza, which was chocolate and covered in all kinds of delicious chocolate candies. I'm even smiling as I write this because these memories are so precious.



How can anything I do make God smile? I certainly hope that in some way God smiles when I openly share my heart with you when I blog. I pray when I sub at the elementary school near our church that God smiles when I hug a child no matter what their economic status is. I hope God smiles when I praise Him while walking my dog and enjoying the beauty of creation. I wonder if God smiles when my heart breaks for those in our community who do not attend a church.



So I ask you, do you make God smile?



If you would like to hear Todd Green sing I Live to Make You Smile, you can contact him through our church website at HarpethHeights.org. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Embracing the Glass House

Ladies, let me interrupt Vickie's week to post a blog written by Dr. Randy Davis, our new executive director for Tennessee Baptist Convention. He has started a blog entitled, A View From the Glass House." In his first post he shared his and Jeanne's philosophy on living in "the glass house." As I read it I thought ministers wives need to read this as well as pastors. Randy has graciously given me permission to share his blog with you. Follow the link below. Enjoy.



http://randycdavistbc.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/why-is-this-blog-called-a-view-from-the-glass-house/#comments

Let us hear what you think.

Monday, September 20, 2010

When Your Minister Husband Says " No"

Recently I was having lunch with three other ministers wives and enjoying the rare moment to share our hearts without worry. The discussion came up about business meetings. Yes sisters that dreaded event in the life of all churches where most ministers wives must "be silent in church." As we began to share our stories of how we handled business meetings and other church issues where our husbands might tell us "no," laughter took over. We all learned that sometimes our husbands say no for good reasons. To further stimulate discussion, I posted the question on the NBA Ministers Wives Facebook page and received several responses.


Before going any further I want to state up front that I and the other sisters at this lunch meeting love our husbands dearly and try very hard to be godly examples for submission. However, as we sat around the table laughing and telling our stories, I quickly discovered that my sweet sisters all share one thing in common about church issues. Well, we all would love to walk over to the person who is causing a scene or blasting our husbands . . . and just slap some sense into them. Can I get an Amen to that?


On a personal note I hate church business and any issue that arises in the church that can cause harm. Now, I am not saying that I do not care what happens in the life of the church. I just hate it because sometimes I feel passionate about an issue. However, because I want to honor my pastor husband, I will remain silent. In business sessions I usually plant myself in the back of the church or next to my fellow staff wives so we can hold one another accountable. Second, when an issue arises, I place both hands under my legs and bite my lip. Believe me, if I had my favorite nerve pills, peanut M & Ms, they would be eaten byt he handfuls. While being that submission minister wife, I am screaming my point in the my even though the only person who can hear me is God.


Another sister shared that she honors her husband's wishes about not speaking out as well. However, she believes it is unfair because she is a member too. Some of the issues that arise at church also concern her children and family. With her stomach churning this sweet sister zips her mouth and holds her breath. She sits there being her husband's personal cheering section with the satisfaction of knowing that he understands how she feels.


One sister, who admits to being strong willed, wrote that even though her husband gives her the "serious look" (we all know about that one) comments will just pop out of her mouths sometimes or she will not take her husband's godly advice. Going on she shared that once while in another country she did not follow her husband's suggestion and she walked out of "God's umbrella of protection."


On a lighter side one of my fellow staff wives told me that she is the voice of reason in their home. Although it is not in regards to business meeting, she is the "nay-sayer"-no more rehearsals, no more late nights, no more chasing rabbits and talking, no more sweets and junk food. Now ifyou knew this sister's heart you would know that she is one of the most gentle and gracious women on earth. At any rate her advice for you ladies who may be the nay-sayer in your family is to pray for the right attitude before saying no.


I would love to hear your funny stories of how you handle sitting quietly through a business meeting. I know that there are others of you who are silent in church and are trying to think happy thoughts when a crisis arises in the meeting. Please share with us. Your comments are valuable to all the other sisters out there.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

RAK

Who have you recently done a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) for lately? One of my favorite RAKS recently came from a friend who was going through a struggle herself. What do you think she gave me? Yes, a gift bag overflowing with chocolate! A RAK does not have to be anything major like giving money to a stranger or providing a meal for someone who is sick. It can be a simple gesture.


For example, I was out running errands in our community. I was trying to get things done in a hurry because I had so much to do back at the house. For one thing God had been nudging me to write a note of encouragement to a couple of people in our church, and I did not want to let the day pass without doing so.


I quickly ran in Bed, Bath, and Beyond to grab a couple of items. I am a big coupon person so I was loaded with my discount store coupons. While heading to the cashier, a lady stopped me and asked if I knew if the store would allow the use of more than one discount coupon. When I explained to her that she could use more if needed, she told me she was going to put her items away and go back home for her coupons. Not thinking I gave her two of my coupons and started to walk away. Instead she went on to tell me how kind I was, that I had made her day, and that she was going to bless someone with her coupons too.


As I walked out of the store God seemed to tap my brain and let me see that what I had done without thinking was a simple RAK. It did not cost me anything-no money or time. I was the one who truly received the blessing because God reminded me of all the people who had done RAKS to me.


So again sisters, what kind of RAK have you done for someone lately? Better still, has a RAK been done for you? Share with us.