Friday, March 19, 2010

Small Group!

So a small group is something that has been on my heart for a long, long time. I miss fellowshipping with adults! And, I need some accountability in my life. So I prayed about it for a long time and was leaning toward starting a woman's group in my home.

(However, one of the complaints the people have of me at work/church is that I don't work enough hours, which I do, but I wasn't keeping a time-sheet. When I first started working there, four years ago, they told me I didn't need to. Well, I didn't for their purposes, but I did to protect my own butt. Lesson learned. So I decided back in January that I didn't need to give them any fuel for their fire and I would hold off).

Obviously, my desire/need for a fellowship group didn't hold off, and it was something I kept praying about. In the mean time, I've managed to scrounge up some committed volunteers (yay!) and was concerned about their spiritual lives as I wasn't spending any time with them apart from the students. Surely, the church people couldn't be mad at me for investing in the lives of my volunteers! Equals a volunteer Bible study. :)

So yesterday, it was me and Richard (my chief volunteer for 4 years, you go baby!), Amy and Dave (their children are in the 5th and 6th grade and I pulled them up this year because we had 0 junior highers, and Amy has been teaching senior high Sunday School for me), Scott (graduated college the same summer the recession hit, was unable to find a job, so got 'stuck' in the valley . . . we were able to pull him in by simply expressing that we could use his gifts), and Joyia (I know little about her, she's not a volunteer, but my pastor asked me to invite her because she's younger, so I did). As you can see, it is this rather hodge-podge group of single and married people, about a 15-year age span and rather diverse economic backgrounds. We didn't fit together too well, except that in a sense we're all people looking for fellowship in what at times seems like a God-forsaken place.

Growth: did you know that 50% of people asked to join a small group say yes? That was an interesting factoid. So next week, we'll hopefully have even more people in our eclectic group as we all set out with the goal of inviting someone new.

How'd it go? Well, I guess. Awkward silences, yes. I'll update you here in a few weeks :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A little on the sad side . . .

Some things have been going on with Richard's work - some of it is his fault and some of it isn't, but let's just say his job isn't exactly secure at the moment. At the very least, he's going to receive a rather dramatic pay cut starting June 1, on top of the pay cuts he's already received.

Fortunately, we've been pretty responsible with our money and we should be okay, but we are going to have to put aside our dream of paying off our mortgage this year. And maybe even next year . . .

I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty sad about that. I was really hoping we could start building the top of our house within five years of moving into the basement, and it looks as if this will also push that dream back. I'm also not looking forward to living on a really tight budget, but that's just me being a spoiled brat.

Really, a lot of this has to do with me, letting go of my plans. I concoct in my mind these plans, and when something happens to throw a wrench in them, I revolt against it. So right now, I'm just trying to hang on to knowing that God's plan is better for me than mine, but I even fight that. I hate my sin nature. The end.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Holy heck!

I thought I was done blogging for the day, but I have to write this!

Evelyn, at the age of 4 and 1/2, took her first willful nap! Laid down in bed and fell asleep with the full-intention of taking a nap! I'm almost speechless. I might check her temperature.

Since I'm writing about Evelyn I might as well add some other thoughts:

- I have started giving her responsibilities! Woot! At the advice of some parenting expert on K-love, I've decided to give her one, age-appropriate task, that I first demonstrated, then assisted, and am now asking her to complete independently. After we get this down, we'll work on a new one. She's been making her bed like a champ for a few weeks now! Yay Evelyn!

- I've been slacking on homeschooling :/. I'm still going to attempt Kindergarten this/next year, but I'm not sure it's going to work. I'm working too many hours and I'll have to find a way to cut back in order to homeschool. Time will tell; I'm not sweating it!

- She's growing up and is starting to get excited about things like sleep-overs and daddy dates and friends.

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel


Winter? Spring? Winting? This is generally one of my least favorite times of the year. I hate the changing of seasons. However, this year I have had my full-share of snow, as we were bountifully blessed. The last few days we have had temperatures in the high 40's to almost 60! However, we still have 6-12 inches of snow in places; although, there are places where it's completely melted. We live on one of the highest points in Belmont County in the foot hills of Appalachia on a north-east facing slope. Therefore, we get more snow and it melts later.

It's been weird! The girls and I went out to play this morning, as the forecast is calling for rain the rest of the week, and I wanted to get them out in the sunshine! I've actually been enjoying the remaining snow because our yard is so muddy from the melt that it's a good way to clean our boots off before coming in the house. And we even had enough that we went down the hill twice this morning! Without our coats on! LOL. We only went twice because we're pretty tired of the snow and we spent most of the time playing on the swingset and a little bit on the trampoline.

This post isn't put together very well. I just wanted to say I'm enjoying the season change. I'm prepared for one more snow, but looking foward to getting the girls out to play on their swingset, soccer, and picnics. And excited for my three favorite months of the year: April, May and June! Woot :) I'm also looking forward to the time change. Love the extra evening sunshine and Richard getting home before sunset!

Youth Ministry Update

All said in my last post, I still have my doubts about ministry. I too easily allow my emotions from one successful moment or one dreadful meeting lead my heart and my mind. I need serious prayer in that I feel my heart, almost physically at times, being torn in two directions. While I love, love, love youth ministry. I hate, hate, hate working for a church. I love every aspect of the ministry opportunity I have: I love being relational with teenagers; I love doing administrative work, I love encouraging volunteers and planning events and chatting with parents.

My past with the church is a long history, and so I come in predisposed to having, at best, an awkward relationship with it. I've been hurt so many times that the scared child part of me wants to get out before I get hurt again. And I see it happening, the power plays, the communication break-downs, the gossip, the misdirected frustrations that are all a part of small-church ministry.

Both directions are valid. Both come from a very real places of joy and pain.

SYMC Highlights

I have so much to blog today that I don't know where to start! I thought I would highlight the Simply Youth Ministry Conference that Richard and I attended last weekend. I went into the weekend rather drained from my youth ministry experiences (actually, more accurately stated would be: drained from working in a church, I still have this enormous love for my students and youth ministry in general). I was desperately in need of encouragement and I received it 10x over. So for that, I owe the SYMC team a huge "Thank you!"

The general sessions had you belly-laughing one minute and crying the next. Connections that deep can only come from sharing each other's experiences. You feel as if every leader of SYMC has somehow experienced all the same joys and sorrows.

I got to see Toby Mac . It was kind of funny; I think the ym's were way more excited about seeing him than my youth kids would have been. You're getting old Toby, lol.

I also attended the Speaking to Teenagers track with Duffy Robbins, who is one of my all-time favorite speakers. It was wonderful and I felt infused with knowledge!

Ultimately, the weekend came down our relationships with Jesus and the legacy we were leaving in the hearts of the teenagers we work with. Amazing :)