Monday, June 29, 2009

Battling the Senses

Yesterday Frank and I guest led worship for Maryland Community Church, which we have been doing about once a month since November to help out while they have been looking for a new worship pastor. They are participating in a gathering of churches called OnePrayer. There are video messages from different pastors each week to go along with this series, and yesterday's was by Jentezen Franklin. I'd never heard of him before...odd name...had slick hair and a pink shirt...Who is THIS guy I wondered? I was getting ready to roll my eyes and listen with half an ear, (See how I am?) but WOW. I think this is just an excellent and timely message. He takes a pretty obscure and rather violent passage from Joshua (Joshua 10:24-25), and connects it to Christians today overcoming what our five senses tell us. He also encourages us to have the faith to believe that the truth found in God's Word is beyond what we can smell, feel, see, hear, and taste. Here's a bit from the end of the message, but I have a link to the whole thing below as well if you're interested. He says "stinketh" at one point and that alone is worth watching...

See the whole thing.

I think Frank and I both have been struggling with many things pulling at our senses lately. There's not one thing that huge and daunting or disturbing...but a lot of those little things seem to add up quickly to make us feel tired and defeated. It's always good to be reminded where our Center lies, but it particularly was an encouragement to me yesterday. No surprise that when Eric taught at HealingPointe last night that the two messages seemed to relate. Here's the passage he spoke on in James:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
(James 3:13-18 NKJV)

I'm not usually a NKJV kinda gal...but did you catch that in this translation bitterness, evny, and selfishness are described as "sensual"? (That's not sexy-type sensual like I first thought...that's "of the senses" sensual.) I rely far too much on my earthly senses. Thus causing confusion and evil stuff. Thus a lack of peace. And so on. It's the times we feel like what we are smelling, feeling, hearing, seeing, and tasting are ganging up against us that we need to point to God's promises to us and say- there is my TRUTH, no matter what I feel today!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Frank and I have an observation about parenting young children..or at least our kids. It seems that for a few months everything seems the same. And then suddenly it seems like the kid will change personalities, learn all these new things and become a different new little person. The parents are left trying to adjust to the next stage and play catch up as best we can!

Up until now the kids were good at taking turns at this type of thing. One would be changing but at least the others would stay the same. Lately it's like all three have decided to change at once and it's become more than catch up. It's chaos management!

My little girl is turning into a big girl. She no longer needs Silky, the slip turned security blanket. I "caught" her watching Suite Life of Zach and Cody the other day. Up until now, shows like that were distained as "shows for teenagers," and I was asked to turn the channel. I am also getting daily questions about dating, marriage, and how old you have to be to have a baby. (Run away!!) I'm beginning to suspect she's getting bored with life at home, too. For some reason, Mommy and little brothers are not quite meeting all of her social expectations. Can you be a moody teenager at 5 years old? I think she'll be really happy to make some friends her own age at kindergarten soon. Makes me sad, but happy, but sad again.

My Joey in the Middle is on his own "big boy" journey. For a child who refused to acknowledge his third birthday and wanted to stay a "little boy" for months and months...he now is excited to proclaim that he is 3 and a half. (Well, almost. I'm not bursting the bubble and telling him he still has a couple weeks until the official 3.5.) The potty and underwear- both former evil enemies- have become sudden friends. This is a good thing. This is a bad thing. He's become really proficient at number 1 in the potty. Number 2 is still a mystery not yet realized. This results in a lot of washings of cars and dinosaur underwear. Sigh. Probably too much info, but such is the life of a pre-school mom! Joey is also much more confident in some things. He's been so brave about getting in the pool. He was scared to death of it last year. He's no longer content to watch his sister play on the computer or the Wii. He wants a turn, too! This results in a lot of sibling fights these days. But the little boy in Joey still lives in his little imaginary universe a lot and likes his cuddle time.

Baby Jay is now Big Baby Jay! Well...he was never that little...but gone is my baby baby. I used to be able to lay or sit him somewhere and get stuff done. Haha. Those days are gone! He's a crawling pro and has just started pulling himself up on furniture so he can get into more stuff. It's so great to see his little personality developing. He's fascinated by the dog, a bug, the TV- everything! He's so sweet when he claps his chubby hands or gives a hug or says "Da, da, da!" But trying to keep things out of his mouth and protecting him from falls is a non-stop job. And when he's not on the move, it's food time. His six teeth are getting a good workout these days. He prefers feeding himself table food now, thank you very much. If we're eating something, he wants it NOW.

So between answering relationship questions on a 5 year old level, potty trips and retrieving God-only-knows from my baby's mouth...I don't seem to be getting much else done lately, including blogging. But we've adopted a pretty good motto around here:
"You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit."

At first I thought it was just a fabulous way to stop the "It's not fa-aaaair"s and "Whyyyyyy"s around here. But it's very good advice for me, too! True on many levels. Even though I'm a pretty good's hard to give those up, darn it. But most of me knows that soon we'll settle into a new normal. And all too soon my kids will not need me 24/7 and then THAT will probably make me a little sad. And a little happy. And a little sad again. It's a good thing I'm surrounded by encouraging friends and family. You all keep me from a permanent stay at the nut farm. If I haven't said it before...parenting is hard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

Dear Blog,

I guess I haven't written in a week. Whoa. Sorry about that. Wish I could say I took an exotic vacation or organized my entire house or something, but...uh...what DID I do last week? Pretty much the same ol' stuff minus writing. Hung out with the kids. Did some housework. Did some yardwork.

I kept looking at you from time to time, hoping to have something funny or articulate to say. But nothing really was there... Usually there's a bunch of ideas competing for attention and I'll sit and write for hours if I can get away with it, but last week and right now it's just one big blank "DUHHHHH." Plus, I've been kind of moody lately and I really didn't want to take it out on you. It's not you, dear Blog, it's me. I just need some time to sort stuff out... OH! No, I didn't mean it like THAT. We're not breaking up! I still love you, Blog. We'll be together forever! I just feel like taking a break from writing for a bit. Even the best relationships benefit from some alone time now and then, right? If you love something and set it free, and it returns to you...blah, blah, blah....

No Blog, I wasn't trying to be trite or make fun of you. Sorry again. I really do love you. I just think you'll be better off without my attitude right now. So go play with the other blogs for awhile, and I'll see you in a few. I'm going to continue to leave long wordy comments on other people's blogs and wait until I feel like I have something worth saying...then...I'll be back.


P.S. I've heard chocolate does wonderful things to nurture the creative spirit.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another Super Update Spectacular!

Erg. Sometimes I forget to give updates on the regular stuff of life going on with the fam. And sometimes I just don't have much inspiration or brain power! So here's a little of life as of lately....

1. I'm still running! My uncle just completed a marathon and my cousin's wife did the half marathon. I am nowhere NEAR doing something like this. I'm in week 5 of an 8 week running program after about....10 weeks. But I'm a lot more in shape and my chicken legs are starting to sport some actual muscles and I've even shed a couple pounds. Yay for me! I might be up for a 5 or 10K by Sept.

2. I haven't killed my flowers yet! And the corn and green beans haven't died either! My Becky Home-ecky points keep increasing. Yesssss. Which balances out the points I'm losing for being tired of cooking homemade-type meals for almost a year. I do not enjoy cooking in hot weather.

3. I really want to go camping. Frank and I keep building campfires in the backyard after the kids go to bed. Kind of fuels the "fire" so to speak. Camping with three little children might amount to more work than it's worth...I don't know...but we might try it for a night or two this summer? Pray. For. Us. We might be crazy.

4. My face is slowly getting better. Yeah, remember the Bell's Palsy? It lingers, but like I said, slow, slow improvement. Most of it I've just adjusted to, but it still kind of bugs me that I can't give people a real smile without being lopsided.

5. We have new neighbors in the ex-drug bust house. They brought a big black dog. Sigh. But so far he hasn't eaten any of my trash. So there's a cease fire for now.

6. Frank is on summer break from online seminary. But he's stayed busy keeping our vehicles running and studying for a certification test he's taking at the end of this week. Don't ask me in what. Something to do with servers. He read a sentence from his book to me and it sounded like another language...

7. The kids are growing and learning by leaps and bounds. Some days, they just seem to have grown and changed overnight! I think Annabelle's bored with home and will be more than ready to make some new friends at school in August. Joey would be happy if I let him live in the sandbox all summer. Baby Jay is keeping me on my toes. He is constantly finding new things to get into and put into his mouth. He's perfecting his "Da da da's" and Frank couldn't be more pleased. Or smug. Here's a couple recent pics:

8. The church is closing on our building next week. Woohoo! Now all we have to do is move all the stuff out of our van and our pastor's garage, do some major cleaning, do a little decorating/remodeling...yeah, just little things like that. :) But it's good to know we won't be homeless for more than a couple weeks. Here's the building. Cute, huh? A space that fits us, fits our budget, has a yard, is in a neighborhood we can reach out to and get to know... Time for HP to put down some roots!

We had to move out of our old space by the first of June, so another church in town, Father's Glory Ministries has graciously let us meet with them this past Sunday as well as next week. We had a great time getting to know them Sunday. Frank and I won't be able to go next Sunday as we've already committed to leading worship for another church Sunday...which leads me to my next thing:

9. It seems like we're all over the place lately! But that should slow down a little after next week. It's been great to see the Body of Christ in big groups, small groups, different denominations and styles. But I'm glad for a day to chill a little...I have a sore throat and am pretty wiped out today...I have no idea why. It's not like we were yelling into microphones or anything:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Behind the Music: Local Outdoor Christian Events

My friends, we have entered the festival and outdoor concert season. Tomorrow Frank, some friends of ours, and myself will be playing some tunes for Jesus Day in Vincennes, Indiana. It's been quite awhile since we've done an outdoor gig. I'm a little nervous. Is it fun to listen to music in the great out of doors in such places as parks or church lawns? Absolutely! But it increases the Something-Can-and-Will-Go-Wrong Factor by about 2000%. So while you sit in your lawn chair and send your kids to the bouncy castle so you can have 2.6 minutes of freedom from "Hey, Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM. MOOOO-OOOOMMM! Can I have some...popcorn/Coke/candy/cash/the phone/a goldfish/a shiny Buick?," the peeps on stage might be facing some of the following:

1. The Joys of Nature. If it rains...we have lots o' electricity running to expensive gear that is strapped to us that is not waterproof. That will teach you the true Fear of the Lord. If it's too hot, you sweat and complain. If it's too cold you can't feel your fingers enough to play. If it's too sunny, the music is one big unreadable white blur and I can't read the screen on my keyboard to see what the settings are. Fab-o. If there's too much wind, the music can blow away...I need some rocks or paperclips stat! If it's too dark, again, I can't read my music. Is that a "C" or a "Q"? Memorize my music, you say? Well, that would be great if I had no small children and could practice 3 hours a day...but...uh... I think a bee just stung me.

2. Schedule snafus. The people who run festivals and events are often capable and organized and hard-working and not paid. They rock. But rarely are they musicians. So it sounds awesome to schedule 8 bands that day, giving them each 45 minutes to play...but that always, ALWAYS leads to getting behind in the schedule. It takes awhile to set up and tear down for each band. And I don't usually see band leaders looking at their watches to see if their allotted time is up. This could be the one shot of fame they have, and they will play until they get the cold steely eye of death from the organizer! The result? Things get behind. Not to mention one band was 2 hours late getting to the fest because their rad WV van broke down 3 times coming from Iowa to Indiana. The time you play is probably not the time you play. But you'd better be there 6 hours early just in case... And you will have no sound check or warm up. Good luck!

3. Can You Hear Me Now? Sometimes you get a good sound check and you get to adjust all the levels of all the instruments and make sure you can hear yourself sing and the instrument you're playing. The sound tech is wonderful to work with and listens to your needs and responds. You have adequate time to warm up and make adjustments. When you step up to the mic, you are confident and ready to rock. Then there's the other 98% of the time. All you hear is drums and you see people's mouths moving and you desperately hope that's the right key you are pressing and the right note you're singing...

4. Pregnancy. Okay, a lot musicians probably don't face this. But I have. And while I'm not pregnant now...I have done many an outdoor gig while pregnant. It dampens the "rock out factor" a bit when you have to pee like crazy while on stage for 3 hours straight...or feel a little nauseous when you see the crowd chowing down on nachos... Good times. Noodle salad.

5. Equipment failure. Strings snap. Keys stick. Sticks break. Cords short out. Speakers blow. Fuses blow. A guitar stand suddenly collapses and you hear a deafening...CHUNGGGGGG! One minute you're having a rockin' good time...and the next there's a complete and utter blackout on stage. Yes, these are a few of my favorite things.

6. Human error. We all make mistakes; I don't care how good you are. Many times, those mistakes happen on stage. Someone plays the wrong note, sings the wrong words, forgets that last chorus we added, and the beat goes on. Most of the time. Sometimes the drummer lapses and the beat does not go on. My go-to errors are: getting too into the music or the crowd and then I forget to change the setting on my keyboard. It's a soft and somber moment in the music...when suddenly... Beth plays an incredibly loud organ note for no reason! Awesome! That didn't kill the mood at all! Or I close my eyes and bash my face into the microphone. Equally awesome! I can sing of your love forever with a bloody lip and chipped tooth!

7. Phobias. Have you ever stood on a flat bed truck? It's a lot higher up than it looks. There might be a way to climb up there. There might not be. You might be 3 inches from the edge of the Dark Abyss of Death. You might not. The stage looks like it's made of paper sacks and concrete blocks. Maybe you will fall through the stage. Maybe you won't. It's a fun game.

8. That guy. When you get a bunch of people together, especially Christians, strange things happen. Yes, there's the guy who yells "JESUS!" at every event. I don't mean that guy. I kind of love that guy. I'm talking about the guy that tells a band member's wife that hugs are inappropriate displays of affection at a youth event, assuming they weren't married. And when he found out they were married, he didn't apologize. And then he was in a skit where he hugged his wife in front of everyone. THAT guy. Of course that's a totally hypothetical situation...

So...with all the distractions, why do we keep saying yes to these things? Well, you see, it's like this. God saw fit to give me a talent and a passion to praise Him through music. I am nowhere near the most talented or most polished musician in my little corner of Indiana, but He's given me opportunities to serve and teach others a little bit about what worship looks like in our lives. Sometimes it's loud. Sometimes it's soft. Sometimes it's silly and fun. Sometimes it's reverent. Sometimes everything goes great and people worship and we get to share our hearts with people and we feel like God did big works through us and maybe they even took up an offering to pay for our gas! Sometimes everything seems like a failure and people look like they'd rather be stabbing themselves in the eye with a pencil and we just have to trust that God put us there for a reason that we'll only understand in heaven someday.

So if you see me tomorrow chasing my kids around the park, trying to keep my music from flying off the stand, sweating buckets...yeah, it's kind of crazy to do these things, and I might have 18 more gray hairs by the end of the day. But it's worth it. I will get one more day to worship with my family, some of the most awesome friends a girl could have, and a bunch of complete strangers who I will share eternity with. Now that really IS awesome. :)

Look! It's me! Outdoor event + pregnant + too sunny + music trying to escape + bouncy castle= Why did someone take this picture?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ha Ha

I've been extra serious/reflective in my last two posts. And lately it seems like I've been fighting the man at every turn. (By "the man" I mostly mean lovely institutions such as my Dr.'s billing office and my worthless insurance company...which ironically are usually women...?) So in honor of crappy weeks, how about a laugh, y'all?

Things that are making laugh a whole lot...

Oh my. Lots of awesome to explore here! If you don't think these are funny, you probably don't have a warped and twisted sense of humor like I do, and I can't help but feel a little bit sorry for you. Just a taste:

2. Watching literal videos on Youtube. Go ahead. Type it in the search box. It's like the music videos I've always wanted to make, but didn't even know it until now! Thanks to Marni for the sweet tip on this one.

So...what makes you laugh these days?