Sunday, June 22, 2008

They exchanged the Truth of God for a lie...

Rich has a saying: "Sin makes people stupid." The truth of that saying is ringing loudly today. Its been a rough week. My stomach is in knots. My face is all rashy (a fun side effect to stress that I've experienced since moving here and experiencing sinful, messy situations.) I know God has put us here for a reason and he never said it would be easy, but I didn't expect it to be so hard at times. We work with a bunch of messed up people, in a messed up world and things are just messed up right now. We are trying to be a light, be the Truth, be in prayer, but even while doing those things, it still is hard. I mentioned before that we were hurt deeply by some church members last year. Those wounds are healing and God has given us a lot of discretion due to that situation, but we also built up a lot of walls - not allowing others to really get close to us. We knew we couldn't effectively minister that way - so we stepped out in faith and loved. We've seen God change lives but Satan is trying so hard to tear down the work we've done. Its no surprise. The Bible tells us we will face persecution and trials. Its just...hard.

Pray for us, especially Rich. Pray for Granite Square. Pray for Matt and Marie and the safety of our families. Pray for Rocky that this brings him closer to God. Pray that the Truth sets Granite Square free. Pray for the kids of the Community Center, like Paul and Josh.
P.S. I hope you guys don't mind my blogging be more of my thoughts than pics of Morgann like the other one:-) I'll do a Morgann post one of these days:-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lilith Fair

Did you ever have a single event somehow direct the way you live your life and think? An epiphany.

I distinctly remember one of my biggest epiphanies. Maggie, Amber, and I went to Lilith Fair in Northern VA. Lilith Fair was basically a big concert with a bunch of different female artists, led by Sarah McLaughlin. Anyway, thats not really the point, but it was a great concert. We are standing in line to get in and its hot and the line is long. We wait and wait and wait. I notice as we slowly move along, some people are not in line, but going in a different way. Line cutters, I think to myself. Yet we stay in line and finally get in towards the gate and we realize - there's another gate. Another way in. I chastise myself on the inside for acting like a sheep. I realized at that point in my life, that I didn't want to be a sheep. Sheep are stupid. Sheep are smelly. (God does call us sheep many times in the Bible, and I agree, that yes, we are in definite need of the shepherding of God.)

I think that experience made me question a lot of how and why we do things like we do them. The biggest result, by far, is in our parenting choices, environmental issues, personal health, politics, and medical choices (or lack of using western medicine.) Sometimes going against the mainstream was not the right decision, other times, it was the right decision, and many times, I don't know if its going to make a difference or not.

One quick example was seminary. We lived in this bigger complex of fellow seminarians (and waaaaaaaay too many toddlers for the liking of a childless couple!). It was far enough from campus, that you didn't want to walk, so everyone drove. The crazy thing is was that no one drove together. 50 cars would leave at 8:50 for their 9:00 o'clock classes. Rich's attempts to get people carpool didn't catch on. So we thought, this is silly. We moved. We could now easily walk to campus (and were free from 50 toddlers peering into our windows...I like toddlers much more now that I have one by the way.)It was one of the best decisions we ever made. For everyone driving their separate cars, perhaps, it was a justified choice, but perhaps, it was a sheep decision. That's just what we Americans do. I'm hoping now that gas is $4/gallon, carpooling has caught on down there....crazy Southerners.

But then again, I don't want to get too caught up in doing things differently, that I actually do harm to myself or others. Balance. Its always a tough line.

So thats what has been rolling around in my head for the good half of the evening. It rolls around in my head quite often in fact, and now, its a blog. How crazy is that?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enjoy the ordinary

I think I was trying to think of something interesting to write about. But we've had just an ordinary week. I suppose our ordinary weeks aren't quite ordinary for most of you though. We each lead unique lives.

Sunday - Wednesday were HOT! Morgann and I spent a lot of time in her kiddie pool. Community Center went really well this week. The kids were pretty well behaved, listened during Bible story time, and we had a pretty good time. I feel that we are developing deeper relationships with some of the kids. Rich has missed 2 Mondays in a row because of work, and a couple of the boys really miss him. I'm glad he can be a godly male role model to the them and love on them. It makes us sad that most of our kids don't have that.

Thursday was Morgann's next to last day of pre-school. We both will be sad Tuesday afternoon when school dismisses for the summer. I spent most of Thursday at McLane doing the chaplain thing and NHBA. My big NHBA task was organizing the party tents for the summer.

Friday, Morgann and I ran errands. We found some Disney VHS tapes at the thrift store. In the words of Morgann: "I'm a Disney girl." Marketing works well on 3 year olds as well. But she's loving Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin (minus the scary parts). Friday night, Rich and I had a date! We went over to Massebesic Lake and just enjoyed the quiet.

Saturday, I went out to the seacoast to help lead in some Disaster Relief Training. Our mud out unit will probably deploy to Iowa in the upcoming weeks. FEMA is saying that the floods in Iowa compare to Katrina. Saturday night, I built a bookshelf for Morgann's room.

Sunday, our friend from college - Dan Hall and his wife Rebecca came to visit. They have a few support raising appointments in NH and will be here until tomorrow. It's been fun catching up. We had some church family drama on Sunday. I was a bit bitter, as in, wanting to chase some people out of OUR church neighborhood by gunpoint, but thankfully God has helped change my heart (not bitter, yet, still wanting some people gone or transformed). Icecream at the Goldenrod also helped. (Ice cream at the Goldenrod is basically worth the visit to NH) I think it helped Greg too. We've really taken on the family concept at Grace Haven and its hard. Its putting your heart on the line. We've been hurt badly before, but I know that God's strength is sufficient.

Monday is always my "Sunday". A day to catch up, clean up, and get ready for the week and for Community Center. So here we go to another ordinary week in Manchester.

So what is your ordinary look like? :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Neighborfest and Sky Show

We've had a fun and busy past few weeks. We've been able to minister in practical ways to the community while sharing Jesus. Our first event was the Sky Show. Its basically a big rock concert in downtown Manchester. Over 70,000 people come to this event. We give out free snow cones, Bibles, and info about Grace Haven. Last year we gave out a little less than 1000 snow cones. This year, we gave out over 2,000 snow cones. That's a whole lot of ice - 535 lbs to be more exact. It was a blast. I think its called the Sky Show because of the fireworks at the end.

Then this weekend, we collaborated with our friends at Neighborworks to coordinate a neighborhood block party - Neighborfest '08. Our relationship with Neighborworks of Greater Manchester has been such a blessing to our church. We were able to do a big event - for free! I was even told to turn in receipts for Bibles and gospel tracts (how cool is that?). We set up the inflatable obstacle course, bounce house, and did snow cones again. The governor, U.S. Senator Sununu and the mayor also showed up to voice their support for the Granite Square. Granite Square is in the running for a HUD revitalization project. It would be a great blessing if that came through. But really, the people need a heart revitalization much more than a facade on their run down multi-families with absentee landlords. Ideally, both will happen. We saw six new people come to church on Sunday afterwards! Pray with us for heart revitalization in Granite Square....that many come to know and live for Jesus!

Eli and Morgann enjoying the Fire Truck.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nini Bambini

I'm very excited about the direction that La Leche of Manchester is taking. My co-leader, Jodie and I were able to meet with the head of Catholic Medical Center's Childbirth education and a doula who does follow up with ALL the new moms at CMC. CMC is sadly lacking in LC services and there is a huge gap that needs to be filled. And I think that is where Jodie, Kate, and I will be stepping in. We had a very successful in hosptial help session a few weeks ago - and Nina heard about it. She invited us to begin holding our meetings at her beautiful store and classroom. It is awesome - a huge, comfortable room lined with leather couches, playmats, and play spaces for toddlers. She is also equipped with a pumping station and sells Amedas, BPA-free bottles, and lovely nursing bras, and tons of great toys, clothes, and shoes (I'm jealous that Nini Bambini wasn't around during my nursing days. I would have spent way too much money there though!) So I'm very excited about the opportunities we are being presented. I can see LLL as a great liason between CMC and new moms. I loved doing the hospital visit as well. (Who can resist a newborn? AND helping a new mommy?) How cool is this place? I'm thrilled to be working with Nina and hope that this a relationship that can really assist me in my journey in the world of lactation. :-P I think Rich "loves" that I'm so passionate about lactation. haha. Poor guy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hug a bug

Concord Christian preschool has been doing a unit on bugs for the past month. The obsession has made it to our home. We have been doing bug crafts every day. In fact, she is in the middle of a beetle craft right now. Here is the result of hours of hard work creating bugs for her door:-)

Monday, June 2, 2008

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you too?

Apparently I would. Though I've been a loyal Xanga blogger since the birth of Morgann, I'm switching over. Or at least dipping my toes in the water of blogger. Its not like I don't have a LJ, Facebook, and Myspace, so what is one additional online account? :-)