April 27, 2013

Hunting Twins

I love that my boys are creative and funny.  They make me laugh and bring me such joy.  Most people don't see this side of them.  They are quiet in public, just like their mama!  However, they have a wicked funny sense of humor.  They are awesome!   Following is a series of videos they made.  The first two are called "Hunting Tyler"

Tyler's Revenge
"Hunting Parker"


I am taking a photography class on Wednesday nights.  This last week I made slow cooker mac and cheese so the boys would have a warm and yummy dinner while I was gone.  My phone rings during class.  Well, it vibrated during class as I am a good student and put it on vibrate!  Since Anthony is the only child of mine with a cell phone I texted him.  Here is our conversation.

Me: Are you calling me?
Anthony: No
Me: The house just called.  Find out what that is about please.
Anthony: They wanted to know if they could have the food.  I said yes.
Me: Thank you.  Did you guys not eat when it was ready?
Anthony:   I did.  I thought walking by them with a plate full of food would show that it was ready.


April 19, 2013

He needs me, he needs me not

Yesterday, Anthony and I were discussing school and he was telling me how today was going to be a throw away school day because it was an early release and there was an assembly so classes would only be 45 minutes long.  (Apparently, you can't get anything done in 45 minutes!)  He also said that he was going golfing with his friend, Jack.  We encourage Anthony to golf whenever he can so that was a big thumbs up on my end.  Then, as I often do, I started to ponder the logistics of it all.  Brian is in California and I would be at work.  Maybe I could get a late "lunch" and take him then.  So, I asked the question, "how do you plan on getting there?"  He replied, "Jack has his license and it has been 6 months.  He's driving."  (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Oregon law, after you get your license you can't drive anyone but immediate family for 6 months.)

In the moment following his answer my heart broke a little.  It wasn't because I was afraid for him and his safety, although that was there, it was the moment of realization that he didn't need me.

If I do my job right, he shouldn't need me anymore and that is the natural progression of life.  And for as much pride as I have in Anthony and the amazing man he is becoming, I didn't think him not needing me would hurt as much as it does!

A few hours later he came downstairs, "Mom, I can't get this to do what it is supposed to do. Can you do it?"

False alarm, people!  He does still need me!  Go back about your business.  Nothing to see here!

April 12, 2013

Times...they are a changing

Most people like routine.  Changing your routine can cause a wide range of emotions.  Read any parenting book and it will tell you to establish routines for your children.  It makes them feel safe.  It also allows them to know what to expect and what is expected of them during the day.  This, say the books, brings them comfort.  Anyone with a child knows the chaos that is released when your child gets off schedule.  Routines make us feel in control.

I like routine.  I have the same routine every morning.  I get up at 6am.  Eat breakfast while checking my email.  Ok, fine, I check facebook.  I get dressed and am back downstairs by 7:10am.  I make my lunch and then the twins and I leave the house at 7:20am.  I take them to school and then stop by Starbucks on my way to work.  I get to work at the same time everyday.  In fact, my boss says “I could set a clock by you.”  So you see…I like my routine.  When my routine is disrupted it makes me irritated.  And crabby. But mostly irritated.

So understandably, when our service times at church were switched around we had some irritated people.  I will be the first to admit that I was one of them. My first thought went to my area of service at the church, hospitality.  As it stood before, we would get there early to make the coffee and other necessary preparations, go to the contemporary service, and then clean up.  The new service times now have us getting there early to make the coffee, going home (as I am not a traditional type of girl), coming back to finish the food prep, go to the later service, and then clean up.  My “serving” time just got lengthened by one and a half hours.  That messes with my routine!

My second thought was that I am a full time working mom and Sunday is spent doing laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and making sure everything is set for the week ahead.  This later service time now takes up half of my day.  I now can’t get all my laundry done in one day.  Irritating!

I discussed my irritation with Brian.  I told him how it messed with my routine and I was extremely unhappy with it.  He then explained the reasoning to me.  Studies have shown, experts have written, fellow pastors have experienced and shared that non Christians are so much more likely to come to a church service later in the morning.  The church wants to make it easier for an unsaved person to attend.  I wanted to argue with him.  I tried, lamely, to argue with him but at that moment the Holy Spirit was talking to my heart.  He reminded me that God has given my husband an incredible heart for the unsaved.  He said that Brian and the shepherds were preparing the soil for the seeds God is going to bring to our church.  They will need a place to grow so we must prepare.  I can’t tell you how sick I suddenly felt in that instant.  We are talking about the eternal salvation of people and I am irritated that all my laundry doesn’t get done.  How unbelievably selfish I was being. 

But some argue that the person may not turn their life over to Christ during the service or they may not come back.  It didn’t “work” so what was the point?  The seed has been planted!  That’s the point!  We may never know or see what becomes of that seed.  We do not see the whole of God’s plan.  Our job is to be obedient to what God asks of us and to cultivate as many seeds as we can.

Sadly, there are some at our church who believe the church is no place for an unsaved person.  For this my heart breaks.  They believe the church is only for believers.  They feel the function of the church is for believers to get together to worship God.  No argument here.  I firmly believe that as well.  However, I don’t believe that is the only function of the church. It can’t be.  How limiting and inward facing a church would be if that was their philosophy.  When you want to buy a house you go inside it and look around before putting in an offer.  You usually do this more than once.  You want to see what the house has for you.  You have questions and the people inside can give you answers.  If our church is only for believers then we are essentially telling people they have to buy the house before they can come inside.  That makes no sense.

Following their logic, where then are these people supposed to come to know the Lord?  Their answer is “that’s God’s job, not ours.”   My answer to that is a big stunned WOW!  Just wow!  Does God need our help to accomplish anything?  Absolutely not.  He wouldn’t be omnipotent if He did.  With a word from His mouth, a gesture from His hand, or a thought, EVERY knee will bow before Him.  No, He does not come close to needing us but He uses us.  Much like when my boys were toddlers and I would let them “help” me make dinner.  I didn’t need their help.  They would often get in the way and do it wrong.  The end result wasn’t as pretty as if I had done it myself but it brought me joy.  The boys benefited from the experience.  They learned skills they didn’t have before.  They gained confidence.  They gained pride in serving.  God uses people to enact His plan not because He needs us but because it brings Him joy and it benefits us.  So, yes, it is ultimately God’s plan and He is in charge…He’s the boss.  But of this I am sure…we are being used.  If we are not being used by God then you have to ask yourself, who are you being used by?  Satan doesn’t want an unsaved person in church either. If we fail to be used by God He will undoubtedly use someone else but that means that we missed out on something incredible.  We missed it.  That hurts us.

God is a logistical master.  He brings people to the right place at the right time.  Just a few weeks ago God sent an unsaved person to one of our services.  He happened to sit right next to Brian.  When he was told to open his Bible to Genesis he didn’t know where that was.  Brian was able to show him.  I know that God brought that person, on that day, to that service because He knew that Brian’s heart was open to that person.  Imagine if all our hearts were open to that.  Imagine what God would bring to us.  Imagine the lives that could be saved.  Imagine how much more strong and vibrant our church would become.  The fire and enthusiasm in a new Christian is contagious.  It is fun to watch.  It is fun to be around.  It is powerful!  And God wants us to be a part of it.  Not just hop on the end result.  That is why full grown adults don’t pop out of the womb.  One, ouch!  Two, the joy is in the journey.  Watching a child grow and become their own person is what brings a smile to our hearts.  Helping shape and mold them into the person God wants them to be is an honor.  How boring it would be to miss that part of the journey.

I know I am saved.  This brings me comfort.  I find encouragement from other Christians in our church.  Why should I be content with my comfort and encouragement when there are others out there who don’t have either?  There is room for both in our church.  If that messes up my Sunday routine then so be it.  I will not stand before my Creator and say that my church was only for Christians.  I will not say that I just wanted some “me” time with my Christian homies and the unsaved would get in the way of that.  Because I know what He would say to me.  “I came to seek and save that which was lost.”  Janiesa, you are no longer lost but there are others that still are.  Stop being selfish about things that have no eternal value.  You will have an eternity to spend with other Christians.  Seek out the lost.

The more, the merrier!

April 11, 2013

Things Parker says

Parker comes downstairs after his shower.  His towel had a loose thread on the side that he strung around his neck transforming his towel into a cape.

Parker:  How do you like my cape?
Me:  It's wonderful!
Parker:  I'm Superman!
Me:  Well, it is past Superman's bedtime so.... giddy-up.
Parker:  Superman doesn't have a bedtime.  So...that must mean I'm not Superman.  You just ruined all my   hopes and dreams.  My childhood has been scarred.

Parker has such a quick wit.  I am so proud!!

April 8, 2013

The Aquarium

Parker chose the Oregon Coast Aquarium for his date with me. We chose a wonderful day to make the 2 hour trek out there.  (I need a sarcasm font for that last sentence!)  It rained.  It poured.  I'm pretty sure there was a monsoon in there somewhere too.  We get there and as we are looking at the map we both realize that half of the aquarium is OUTSIDE!  Really?  And here is where I win the mother of the year award...we didn't bring coats!  We were wet and cold but had a great time!

Here are some pictures from our date.  They aren't the greatest.  I know my fellow photographers will feel my pain.  My ISO was so high because I had to have a fairly fast shutter speed so the sharks weren't just blurs but you couldn't use a flash because of the reflection.  Blah!