Monday, August 31, 2009

The Interview... and my first Sunday!

Well, I made it. I decided to cut my bangs before I had to get up in front of the church. I got rid of the Van Halen hair and updated my "do" just a little bit! (again I am laughing) I refuse to cut the length I am trying to grow my hair out to. I have had short hair for a long time and I am going to have long luxurious hair if it kills me! I love pony tails! (still laughing)

Anyway, we went to the church and delivered all of our kids to their prospective kid classes. I found my spot in the church and tried to relax. I was so nervous I went to the bathroom like 3 times. I knew what he was going to ask... and I had thought about my response a hundred times. But I wanted it to come from my heart I wanted people to hear my heart for the ministry. I did not want it to sound rehearsed or contrived. It was truly my heart.

He asked me, what is your vision for Children's ministry.

I told him that after working in Children's Ministry with all of the people I had they all had one thing in common. "They wanted to please God." So at the very core of this ministry I want all that we do to please God first and foremost. I wanted what God wanted... and as I prayed I believe that God wants kids in the nursery to be held by Grandma's and Grandpa's and to be prayed over by them. That God wanted kids in preschool to begin to understand the power of relationships and that there are adults that model Jesus' love to them in a safe place. That preschoolers could pray for one another. That God wanted our 1st-3rd graders to hold the word of God in their hearts so when they had to make tough decisions they would know what God said about it. That the 4th and 5th graders would begin to have a confidence in their faith and be servant leaders that disciple other kids and families. Oh yeah... and that we would have a waiting list of volunteers ready to serve in Children's Ministry to love kids and tell them about Jesus.

It was cool. I had goosebumps. I felt passionate about it. (still do) But what surprised me is what came after the services. I was nervous to walk around our church and introduce myself and talk to new people. I thought this would be so scary.
A good friend of mine told me that God would place a "mantle" on me once in the new position. A mantle that would prepare me for this leadership position. I was not sure what that meant. But once I was introduced I was walking around talking to people I did not know, introducing myself, asking questions, talking to kids. Getting to know people and it felt totally natural. I was joyful doing it. I was excited to get to know these people because I wanted them to feel totally welcome in our church. God has placed an amazing group of people in our church and I am truly looking forward to what the future holds.

Please pray for me as I continue down this path. That not only am I doing the things God would have me do but that he receive every bit of glory that comes from it. He has big plans for Durango, for the kids at our church. It is not going to be easy or fun all the time.. (I'll post about that later) but it is going to be something that I know I will look back on and be happy I stepped out believing God would take care of it all. And I know he will.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The first week...

BK and kiddos at the carnival
Grace walking Toby to School (the school is right behind them)
Well, we made it through the first week back to school and the first week of me starting a new job. I have to say I planned this horribly. I should have transitioned all of this better. Doing it all at once was very stressful on myself and my kids but we survived.
I am not working from home so this is a huge transition for the big kids. T had a very hard time this week. I have to say that I have raised so far a very huggable loveable wonderful mama's boy. Not intentionally. We spent lots of time together when he was not in preschool and over the summer. Then Josie came and rocked his world a bit. Then school started and now I'm not home to be with him immediately after school. Today he did not want to go but I let him wear his scary Halloween teeth and Grace told him she would hold his hand and they could walk together and I would meet him there and he was cool with it so he felt better. He also got to play with the electric pencil sharpener and he loved that. I visited him one day over lunch and he was digging that. He also just popped up and went right back to class after lunchtime. What a trooper.

It breaks my heart to watch G and T go to school. I have many friends that homeschool. Believe me, I have prayed and prayed about this option. However, as difficult as it is to take my kids to school, I know that I know that God wants them there. Grace has already this week talked with kids about the Bible (again). They were just talking a little bit about stories they all knew from the Bible. I would love to have sat in on that conversation. A bunch of 7 year olds comparing stories they knew. She said one girl was talking about the "last days" and how the Bible says the moon will turn the color of blood... Grace was very impressed with her friend's knowledge. She made it sound very dramatic in those last days! :) She also is concerned about homework. Second grade has a bit more demanding homework schedule, lost of spelling, math and reading work we can do as a family after school. We will need to make time for it. I think it just helps kids prepare to do homework later. It's fun homework like spelling things in shaving cream on the kitchen table! I dig it! G has also been awesome, she needs snuggles and love too. Even though she's the big sis, helping Toby and loving on Josie... the first day came with it's share of anxiousness. We gave hugs, I came and had lunch with her in school and I talk to her about how much I miss her during the day. She's so beautiful and wonderful. I am a proud Mama to G.

I know some Mom's look forward to school starting. I really don't. I LOVE the summertime and spending it with my kids. I love the enjoyment I get out of waking up with them (late) eating sugary cereals taking them to the pool, carnival, playing outside and just spending time together. I love hearing them "playing". T will say... "and then I am the dog and then you come in and you are my Mommy dog and you take me to the doctor.. ok G? OK?" They are a team and I love being their Mommy.

Josie is doing great. She spent time this week with her new nanny Autumn. She is great. She understands how hard it is for me to leave her. She brought Josie to the church multiple times. She calls me and texts me throughout the day, she texts me pictures of her and tells me how great she is. I couldn't ask for a better person to help me love on this wonderful baby girl.

You might ask me what's up with BK in all of this. BK is awesome. We need a date night FOR SURE! We haven't been on one in too long the kiddos are sucking up all of our emotional and physical energy. When he gets home from work, we eat and chill a little, then G and T demand he get out on the trampoline with him. Today they golfed a bit in the yard after supper. We've been reading a book called the 15 minute organizer to help us stay organized with our busy schedules. BK is all about it and I am so thankful.

Well, as the "Director of Children's Ministries" God is laying lots of things on my heart. I am a little nervous because Pastor said he was going to introduce and interview me a bit on Sunday about this new position in front of the church. I'm mostly nervous about my hair because I seriously need a new updated cut. This rocker VanHalen thing has got to go... (I laugh as I type).
I am trusting that this new season in our life will be a good one. BK and I have said that we just need to get this down... it takes time, transition and a new way of looking at our life. God will ease us into it all. As I pray and talk to God in the middle of the night, He gives me the peace in my heart to know I am exactly where he has me to be. Even if it is uncomfortable for me right now. I look forward to tomorrow because it has been given to me. I am praying for my kids, praying for my marriage and praying that it all just falls in place. Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. Not enough time in the day! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Then and now... The "Church Lady"

I was just telling a friend of mine the other day that I think it's hard for people to swallow a Christian's lifestyle because it is so different from what the "world" looks like.

If you would have walked up to me in college and told me that someday I'd be an aspiring children's pastor, that I'd be attending church regularly sometimes spending all day at church just for fun I would have laughed in your face.
If you would have told me that to pray for someone gives me goosebumps and makes my heart skip a beat I'd tell you that you've lost it.
If you would have told me that someday I would attend a Bible camp with hundreds of teens and on the last day minister to a boy who wanted Jesus in his life... I would have doubled over.
If you would have told me that I'd prefer playing in the pool with my kids over a trip to Europe... I'd tell you no.
If you would have told me that I'd someday contemplate adoption and tear up everytime a story is told of a child without parents, I would have told you... not so much.

But that is who I am today. My life in my new faith looks different yes. God is making things crystal clear for me lately. My heart soars at the thought of what the future brings.
I look forward to eternity. I look forward to meeting Jesus someday. This life on earth is short. I plan to use this time to prepare for that day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The path to getting here...

I am feeling nostalgic today. If you've read this blog you'll know I do this every once in a while. I take myself back to a place and time in my life. I think about the "good ol' days." I relish the journey God has walked with me.

I grew up in a home in a nice suburb of Milwaukee. My Dad and Mom both worked. My parents worked hard to raise us in a really nice area with a great school district in the town we lived in. They wanted the best for all of us. I don't think living where we lived came easy. It was expensive to live there. Many of my friends were "loaded". Their houses were perched on Lake Michigan's shores. We lived further in town but nonetheless had a great home and beautiful huge yard. My brothers and I were blessed by how much they desired us to be raised in a good community. Both of my grandparents lived close by so we would often see them and spend holidays with them. We were invited over for dinners, our granparents would take us places like ice skating and out to dinners and maybe even just have us over for a sleep over.


I spent summers going "up north" to a place called Eagle River, hanging at "Summerfest" a HUGE music festival in Milwaukee. In Eagle River we would always stop at this gift shop called the Strawberry patch... and I would pick out a stuffed animal. We would go to this cool tavern called "The Burnt Bridge." At Summerfest we would watch bands, go on rides, eat tons of good food and get our faces painted. I have so many good memories of my childhood.

I also rode my bike everywhere! I had a season pass to our local pool in town and had tons of fun with my brother's in our neighborhood. We rode our bike to a closeby candy store. I used to buy a pack of gum for a quarter. We rode our bikes to friends houses, to the grocery store called Piggly Wiggly (as we got older) and eventually when I got a job at a local veterinary clinic I even rode my bike there. I had a friend named Sherri who's parents owned a really nice restaurant in town. I would ride my bike to the restaurant, we would get food from the kitchen and go hang out by the pool (in the back of the restaurant). I have awesome summer memories.

My birthday was in October so many of my birthday parties were Halloween themed. I know some Christians are totally opposed to Halloween. Our Halloween parties were harmless and fun. We liked to dress up, we loved the traditions, the food, the candy and the memories. My brothers and I used to take the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin and put them in between our fingers and shoot them at each other. My parents did a great job of making holiday's special. Christmas and Thanksgiving were also big events at our house. My Mom would totally go all out to throw great parties for all of our relatives to come over and enjoy. Spending time together was important to our family.

My Mom and Dad put an addition on our home. My Dad and Grandpa did the work entirely themselves. I don't think they hired many outside My Dad worked to give me my own room. (I shared with my bro for a bit) He put hardwood floors in that room and my Mom let me pick out my very own wallpaper. Pink wallpaper with tons of strawberries and teeny tiny hearts all over it. I remember watching my Dad put each slat of wood down in my room. I remember how hard he worked to do it. My parents loved our family and wanted the best for all of us. They worked hard to give us a comfortable life.

My parents also had a great collection of vinyl records and a really nice "stereo system". They would play it loud. Sometimes we would all dance. Sometimes just my parents would dance. Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet, Jim Croce, The Pointer Sisters and John Cougar Mellencamp and Lionel Richie would be playing on that system many times. Once I got my first albums (Air Supply and Micheal Jackson's Thriller) I played many of them on the system too!

So today I leave you with a glimps of my past. I also leave you with a few songs on the playlist that I grew up with listening to in my house. Some of you may have not ever heard these songs. They are special to me, enjoy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Frumpy McFrumperson

Excuse me while I whine for a moment...

I feel gross. Four weeks after the birth of my baby girl... and I feel yuck. You know what I mean? My nursing bra's are tight, my "regular" pants don't fit well enough to wear them. Some of my maternity pants fit me and some of the maternity pants are just WAY too big.

Some days I shower, some days I don't. I love wearing pajamas. My nails have not been painted in a long time. My feet are dry and cracked... (is this TMI?) In have his new dark hair color that I'm not digging that much. I mostly smell like baby shampoo (which smells good) or some days spit up (does not smell good). Today I was running my fingers through my hair and my fingers got stuck at this one point... I realized Josie probably was trying to eat my hair or spit up in it... nice... and ewww.

BK is very supportive. He tells me all the time that I am pretty... but I just don't FEEL so cute lately. My "too tight" nursing bra's have this way of making me feel super frumpy. Then throw a nursing pad in there to make sure I don't leak all over my clothes and it's just adds to the ewww of it all. I am not complaining. I am just stating the facts. I am now in the season of Frumpy McFrumperson. I can't wait to put on a pair of regular jeans, be a well kept, NON sleep deprived Mama. That day will come.

Josie is up right now, cooing, grunting and being adored by her brother and sister. I look at her and KNOW that this season is worth it. Taking care of her and my kids brings me more joy than anything. So I think I can make it through this "awkward" stage. I've done it before I'll do it again. But in the meantime I'd like some "cheese" to go with my whine ;)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A brand new adventure - Whew... here we go!

I have been blogging for some time and referring to this "new" thing or season in my life that is fast approaching. This has been a God planned, God directed journey for me and as it unfolded before me I was actually pretty amazed. It started four years ago when we moved to Durango.

The first advance toward this cool thing was when I decided I wanted to be a youth leader. I love hanging with teens, I love hearing their hearts, I love acting goofy, being silly and understand the heart of kids at this age. Being a youth leader was one of the most fun times in my life. It deepened my faith as I watched God working in the lives of all the kids who pursued Him with all they had, regardless of circumstances. As I spoke into their lives, God was working on my heart and my life too. God was working behind the scenes as I begun to prayerfully consider what God's plan was for my life and the life of my family, I knew He was going to reveal things to me I had never dreamed of. How cool is that?
One day BK and I were driving into the church parking lot and I said to Billy, someday I am going to work here. He was a little surprised. At our old church in Minnesota BK and I cleaned the church for some extra money. I even said to him, I am not sure if I'll be a janitor and clean at this church but I just have this gut feeling someday I'll work here. I had a great job... working from my home, with flexible hours and a company that appreciated and understood my family. The fact I had this thought that someday that would not be my job puzzled me. I was completely satisfied in my job, but God left me with a feeling that someday my job would be within our church walls. Wow. Here we go God.

After serving as a leader in the youth ministry for a about three years I started serving in a leadership role in Children's ministry. To be completely honest this new ministry threw me for a loop. There were tons of details to consider. Schedules, snacks, crafts, curriculum, volunteers, numbers of kids, laundry, cleanliness etc.etc.

I think I've talked about this before but where I grew up and in my community, Christianity or the belief in Christ was pretty much across the board. My friends and I were all different religions, Lutheran, Catholic, Christian, Methodist, but we could all agree that Jesus came to earth died on the cross for our sins in order for us to have a relationship with God. The basics were not argued or debated. In this town we live in now, it is a very different culture. There are many people who completely deny Jesus is Lord entirely. There is a big culture of new age religion and witchcraft. Some of the teens in our youth group have to "defend" their faith in schools. They have teachers arguing with them about their faith. Spiritually this town is different. Kids need to be prepared here to have a confidence in their faith and a deep understanding of God's love for them. Christ is real. Jesus dying on the cross is real. The fact He desires relationship with us is VERY real... and to help them establish a confidence in that is a great privledge and honor.

I can proudly say that " I love my church." We have an awesome group of friends at our church a great community of people who care about love and encourage. We hold each other accountable, we learn together, we laugh a lot, we have tons of fun and the best part is... not one of us is perfect. There is grace, there is forgiveness, there is patience and in all of it there is the peace of Jesus.

Anyway, this brings me back to my journey. Our Children's pastor was moving into a different role in the church so our Senior Pastor was going to be looking for a new person to fill this role. I met with him to talk to him about some of the things I had on my heart for the ministry. I wanted him to be able to find the right person for the job. I wanted him to hear my heart for the ministry and the church. Our "core" group of people who lead the ministry all met with him because we wanted him to find the right person for this job.

It was in this meeting our Senior Pastor asked me if I thought I would be able to do the job as Children's Pastor. I told him yes. I thought I could do it. Of course I could do it! I love kids, I love my church, God we have awesome people who serve in the ministry. It would be an honor. I prayed and asked God to reveal to me if this was His plan for me. Then... came all my "but God's" But God... "my job now is fine." But God, " I would need to work full time". But God... "I'm about to have a baby." But God... I'm not holy enough. But God... surely you have someone more qualified. ;)"

Thankfully, I have a pastor who asked me to pray about it and seek God in it. See if this was something God might have for me even though I could think of a thousand reasons not to pursue it. As I began to pray thoughts of my past flooded in, I always wanted to work for something that "meant" something. I've worked in corporations and worked my booty off so someone could make LOTS of money. It never saw the point in it. I would sit in marketing meetings where we would brainstorm on how to sell the latest product or service... and everyone would be so fired up but at the end of the day... it didn't seem like it was "that" important to me. Sure it was important to do a good job and to sell lots of these things, but in the grand scheme of life... was a widget or a service going to change someone's life? I took a Meyers Briggs Personality test when we lived in Minnesota and one of the top 10 jobs the test said I should pursue was that of a Children's Pastor. (I giggle now as I think about it)

At our church, the job as Children's pastor would be to point everyone I encountered to Jesus Christ. This meant something, something that changed lives, something that lasted for ETERNITY. Not just this life on earth. The things God could do in this ministry would be totally life changing for me and for the people I ministred to. God then gave me visions of what the ministry could look like, visions of ministering to people, praying for people, opportunites to see people healed from emotional pain. Watching families and kids be transformed by the love of Christ. God just flooded me with all of this. It fueled me. It ignited my passion for this church, for Jesus and for the ministry.

So to wrap this up, God worked out all the details, he coordinated it all so I could work full time, in a cool job for and with awesome people to serve the Lord and my church community. He worked out the details so my husband and I felt confident in moving in this direction. All my "But God..." statements were taken off the table. He also humbled me... showing me that this position is not about me, but about what God can and will do in our church and our families.

As of August 24th I "get to" be the new "Children's Pastor" at our church in Durango. What a thrill, what an honor, I cannot imagine anything cooler than getting paid to tell kids and families the awesome truth of Jesus Christ and then I get to watch God work in all of it. It is an honor and a privledge to serve this community and our families. So now... instead of saying BUT GOD.... I say Thank you God... what's next?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Raised up in the 80's

If you knew me, you'd know that I grew up in the midwest, that my favorite movies growing up were Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Gremlins, Goonies, E.T. etc etc. One of my favorite outfits growing up was a denim mini skirt I wore (bleached) with neon green tights and a HUGE white tshirt with BIG PINK LETTERS all over it. I am a child of the 80's and I loved it. I graduated from HS in 1989. I remember going to the first "Express" clothing store at the mall. My babysitter worked there. It was the coolest of the cool. Let's put it this way, " I wore my sunglasses at night." If you understand that statement and it makes sense to you.. You too... were a child of the 80's.
Express was an 80's "punk" kind of store...but 80's punk was not peircings.. and wearing black death and doom. It was to mix neon with anything denim. It was bleaching and pinning denim. It was TONS of accessories. Lots of bracelets, hair accessories, tights under fishnet neon stockings, BIG hair, big earrings and tons of hair spray. Colorful makeup was cool too.. if you were really creative. I opted for blue eyeliner and a little blush and lipgloss.
In 7th grade I lip sync'ed Girls Just Wanna have Fun by Cyndi Lauper at a talent show. It sounds crazy but it was one of those moments I'll never forget. Goofy me... dressed as Cyndi Lauper... ran out into the audience... patted one of our bald teachers on the head and performed. I received a standing ovation at that talent show... it was the coolest feeling in the world. I had a blast in the 80's.
In 6th grade I asked the teacher if I could take the tape recorder from our teacher's classroom out to the playground with me. I played the Cyndi Lauper song Girls just wanna have fun... cranked up on this little tape recorder and danced around the playground. It was my favorite song, I would play it over and over and over. I'm nostalgic today about the 80's and just thought I'd share. Have a great week friends!