Friday, July 20, 2007

Sweat Work of Love

Building a new playground at church takes work, and lots of people. Its called Sweat Work of Love, especially on days like today when it is so hot you can fry eggs on the sidewalk.

It all began when I first moved here. A member of the church was sitting with the kids at church while Bob and I went to something, can't remember what. The kids had gone out to play on the then Swing set. Apparently one of the kids got hurt on it. As the church member investigated, it was loose parts on the slide. We tried to fix it and couldn't. The church member suggested it might need to be torn down. I was a bit hesitant being the new Pastor at the church. So I told her she needed to follow the Methodist way of going to the trustees who would then discuss it and then bring it before the Admin. Council. Way somehow or another the head trustee gave the person permission to tear it down without getting Admin Council approval. The next thing I know the husband and grandson were tearing it down. He told me it was full of dry rot, and holes from wood bees. I got him to save the accessories because they were okay. That would be one less thing we would have to pay for when we rebuilt it. Now you need to know this set got lots of wear and tear. We have a community basketball league and a school league that plays in our gymn, CLC center. And the kids get out there and play and play. We have this little courtyard area that it is set in, and there is a little memory garden in it too. This same couple said they would pay for a new playground if it was moved out of the courtyard over to the side of the church where there is this big open area.

Believe it or not it took us until this summer to get the new playground going, and it has evolved. We moved over the older metal swing set, put up a fence. Then someone donated another metal swing set. But the plans were to replace the wooden swing set. So we began looking and pricing. Those things are expensive these days! But hubby found one at Sam's he thought was a good one at a decent price. And guess what we got enough money to buy it to start building it. So now we are in the process of building the swing set. My hubby has taken it upon himself as a project. He bought it, got a trailer to haul it back on from our neighbor. But he forgot to get people there to meet him to unload it. (He thinks he can do it alone, that was what he had to do growing up.) But there were five boxes, three of which were over 200 pounds, one over 150 and one at 35. I helped with the 35 and the 150. I told him that he needed to start calling to get a man there to help him. After calling a bunch of the men he was able to get one man there to help him. IN the meantime, I had the idea of taking the boards out of the heavy ones until they were light enough to pull them off the trailer. Which I might say worked.

Well, now everyday, Bob and some of the men are over there working on the boards. Its a lot of work. A lot of Sweat work of love. Now people when they drive by see the new playground, instead of not being able to see it. My hope they can see that we love children and we care about children. And that they see these men at work for the Lord.

Here's what the new swing set will look like when it is done. I'll get pictures of the whole playground and post them.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What its Friday Five already?

Sally says; When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward..

1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith Gosh, when I look back there have been lots of times of lots of encouragement in my journey of faith. I have been so fortunate that God has sent people my way to encourage me just when I was ready to turn away. I would have to say the biggest time was after two years of Invitro Fertilization and 2 failed pregnancies, I was devastated, depressed, and angry with God. This went on for some time. The encouragement I received? It came from those who walked with me, never saying much, but stayed with me. In the most recent years, it was the closest I have come to saying the H*** with God, with Christianity and with church. But since that time, I have known God's presence in a deep place in my soul. I pray I can be as encouraging for others. Thank you friends, and Thank you God.
2. Do you have a current vision / dream for your work/ family/ministry? Yes, I have a vision of helping this church grow as we work through Natural Church Development. This vision came to me before we actually started, but it all fits together in God's beautiful way. For my family I dream we can go back to China when the children are older and can appreciate it more. And that this visit helps them in their maturing and dealing with their adoptions. I pray that when Bob and I retire we can have some time together.
3.Money is no object and so you will..... Go to China, take a year off, go to the Holy Land, back to Germany and England, see some of the places I have not gotten to see but dreamed of, and then have time to write a book from the experiences. And then get invited on the speaking tour like the big dogs.
4. How do you see your way through the disappointments? What keeps you going? I have struggled most of my life with depression; besides medication, my husband, friends, therapist, supervisor, spritual mentor, and friends have held me up when I couldn't hold myself up. Faith, without a doubt faith in what I cannot always see ahead of me. Letting myself have and feel my feelings.
5. How important are your roots? Roots? What roots? I am one of those mix breed white anglo saxon and no telling where it all came from. I am often proud of being oh 4th generation Floridan, of course, I don't live there anymore. I am proud of my Eastman heritage, but someone lost the book with all the lines and family tree, so I don't know what all is there. So I am not hung up on it. I think my kids roots of being from China is important. I think it is going to hurt them to not find their biological parents, I pray that we have laid the groundwork for them to deal with their feelings, and that we remain supportive and accepting as well.

6. Bonus= what would you like to add ? This was a good Friday five. I think what I would add is to ask does any one need encouragement presently in their life?

Monday, July 16, 2007

I don't belong to the only true church

I had read in the news what the Pope had said about Christianity, and just let it slide right through my mind. I have had a lot on my mind as of recent, and a lot has slid through. But yesterday I read over at reverend mother her thoughts, and it reminded me about it again.

If you haven't read it; Catholic Church only true church.

Ya know, you think you are making progress on communion with the RCC, and you get told they are the only true church. (What are we fake churches?)

It says although Orthodox churches are true churches, they are defective because they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope. and then "It follows that these separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation," (Whoops, I guess I am not saved either.)

The document adds that Protestant denominations — called Christian Communities born out of the Reformation — are not true churches, but ecclesial communities. (Just what are those?)

"These ecclesial communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood … cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'churches' in the proper sense," it said. (But we practice the sacraments.)

Reverend mother suggests they use the following Marketing Slogan. How’s this for a marketing slogan:

Christianity: Answering Questions Nobody’s Asking Anymore

Over the past 5 years the Methodist church has been in dialogs with the Catholic Church, and issued a report on these meetings called "Through Divine Love: The Church in Each Place and All Places." It said we have some parallels with the Catholic. (I guess we actually live in parallel universes.)

Thanks for reverend mother's comments, so what do you think?

I don't know how to say this, but I'll just say it, I don't believe in the Pope, I believe in Jesus.
And if that means I don't belong to the only true church, or not a Christian, than so be it. I'll just keep believing in and following Jesus to the best of my ability.

I just don't think it is about denominations anyway or even non denominational status.

What I get concerned about is how these kind of things are not a witness to God's love.

But as reverend mother said, she is moving on, and I am too. I am moving on to continue to share God's love with others.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Being involved in Natural Church Development.

I haven't blogged about this yet. But St. John voted to go through the Natural Church Development Process a good while back. We had someone come introduce the process to us. One of the things you do is get 30 people together and the Pastor do a survey on the church. We did our survey right before the Annual Conference meeting in June, so we waited until afterwards to send it in to get it scored. Then I was gone on vacation. So last Sunday we had a meeting with our Coach to go over our results. I also began a sermon series on Natural Church Development and the 8 Characteristics. Our meeting was well attended, and we had a good discussion on our strengths and our weak point. Now the leaders are sitting with the results and praying over it and what step to take next. I have also set aside Fridays as a day of prayer for the church with the sanctuary open to come by and pray, I have also provided prayer guides to give us focus.

The more I read about the process the more I learn, the more empowering it is.

So I am praying that whatever I am doing that is blockage to God's natural Growth forces, will be removed. And I am praying for God's growth forces to be released in our church. It is interesting, several of the leaders have already come forward with some creative ideas of steps to take to work on our weak point. And I am encouraging them to do them. Even before we got the results, we were already beginning to address some things we realized were missing in the church.

If you want to know more about Natural Church Development, you can go here. I am very proud of our leaders for being willing to go through the process, and how they are handling things so far. Change is hard as you know.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday Five: Harry Potter who else?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Five: Wotcher, Harry! ...or not
(Don't miss the big news in the post below! Mark your calendars!)As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why? I have to chose, really? Seriously? You got to be joking.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?

I would imagine I am like Rubeus Hagrid. I would like to get to know Harry of course.

3. How careful are you about spoilers?a) bring 'em on--even if I know the destination, the journey's still goodb) eh, I'd rather not know what happens, but I'm not going to commit Avada Kedavra if someone makes a slipc) I will sequester myself in a geodesic dome to avoid finding anything out You know, I can handle them or prefer not to have them. I don't really like it when I am told the ending.

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued? I certainly hope she isn't done. I mean doesn't she want to get another million or so, and then she can buy England instead of just being richer than the Queen. If she were to do this, I would love to see a story about pre Harry, about his parents, etc. or Harry gets married to Sally, whoops, I have the wrong movie.

Option 2: Please Mommy, Anything But Those Blankety-Blank Books! And we do mean anything: I haven't heard that one yet, mine love books.

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower. Yes, lets honor her, I like the small little wild purple violets. They are so dainty.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday. Not that, but maybe fly in a glider, does that count?

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one? No and no.

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender? I seriously would like to see parts of the Discipline and the Itinerate system and the hierarchy and all the commissions, and structures we have up above us in the Methodist Church, but don't ask me what I would do after that.

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment? Most definitely, especially in a case like that, and a few other nameless ones.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We are home, after a long trip back from Tenn. Drove most of the way back in good rain. Thank you Lord for the rain, you know we have been so dry. Now spare those states taht are flooding from continued down pours.

I want to thank the Martins for taking care of our animals while we were gone. And thank you to our neighbor for mowing our front yard too. And the house wasn't bad at all.

The kids were tired and went to bed to early, and here I am still up catching up on email and blogging while I can.

We had a great vacation. The last full day there we played more putt putt which the kids really liked. Good thing the Resort had one of their own you could play for free. And we took them to the petting zoo. Now that was really a blast, and the kids didn't want to leave. When I asked them which ones they like the best, they said, they liked them all. Got to talking to the caretaker, and learned a lot more about their story and how they take care of the animals. It was obvious they were taken care of.

The kids want to go back to Tenn. soon. I do too. They will be a little older and will be able to do more hikes.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Five:Hasty Edition

Reverend Mother offers the following at Revgalblogpals: Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing Colorful Polo shirt, khaki shorts, crocs.

2. Reading The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd; They Like the Jesus, but Not the Church, Dan Kimball: Natural Church Development and The Implementation Guide, Schwartz.

3. Eating Pizza, Dark chocolate Mms and anything that is good for a long road trip.

4. Doing Traveling back from our vacation to home, it is a long trip, so I am also trying to keep the kids from getting too bored.

5. Pondering How bad is the house going to be when we get home? Will these kids ever stop arguing? And how will I write my sermon for Sunday?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Clingman's dome

Well, Clingman's dome did not conquer us, we conquered it after many stops along the way for little legs, and mom's legs. It was quite an ascent. And a wonderful view all the way around! The kids said it was worth the hike. They loved the views of Smokies. It brought back many memories for me of the different times we went as a family, and different ages I was. Bob and I came, I think twice, and did a lot of hiking then. Hah, I would have to get in better shape. At the Ranger's station, they have a gift shop, and the kids found stuffed black bears. We bought each one a bear, and they immediately named them. Then they were treating them like they were babies. Yes, babies. They even went up clingman's dome with the kids. Although Katy toward the end of the hike started saying, I wish I had not brought the bear. Too late for that. But the bears did make it back down the moutain and took naps in the car along with the kids.

I really had a sense of peace being in the mountains today. Can't explain it but I did. Thanks for all your comments, and keeping up with our trip.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A new racing family is in the making...

Did I say we were staying in North Carolina? What was I thinking other than we do spend a lot of time in North Carolina. Actually we are in Tennessee. Sieverville to be exact, home of Dolly Parton. We are staying at the Smokey Mountain Resort, part of the Wyndham Vacation Resorts, was Fairfield before.

Today we caved into the kids and took them to the NASCAR Speed Park. But I made them promise that the next day we go back to the Smokies. You can race various size go carts on various tracks at various speeds. But you must reach a certain height for most of them. Our kids could drive the ones that go about the speed of riding lawnmower. They had a blast. I turned to Bob and said "well I guess we can't let them do the lawn mowing now."

They did have some other kiddie rides they could ride as well. They didn't want to ride the faster go cars, even if they could ride with dad driving. So now a new racing family is in the making, The Wilke family. Although I ended up with a sunburn standing around, looking pretty, holding the trophy for the winner in the winner's circle. (I just made that up.) I was the one taking the pictures while standing in the sun all day. Tomorrow we conquer Clingman's dome or it conquers us. Have a happy fourth of July ya'll.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A few moments of time...

Hi friends, I only get thirty minutes to use the computer and the internet here at the resort, but thank God they even had that. Just wanted you to know I am here in North Carolina on vacation with the kids at the Smokies. This resort is amazing, you could do everything here and not be bored. But we came to introduce the kids to the Smokies, but they want to do the pool and the water park this place has. I don't understand the comparison to the Smokies, really I don't. And I don't understand a computer in this day in time that can't read Google code. Really, I am having to guess what the little zeros mean.

Yesterday we took them to Cade's Cove, one of the really beautiful relaxing spots at the Smokies. We saw deer and black bear. Yes, black bears, three, and they had stopped traffic by playing in the road. People got out of their cars to take pictures. Now really that is one not so smart idea. Anyway I am here until Friday and then will head home. I have been able to rest and read. Oh wow read. It is so fantastic.

I'll write more later.