I'm so grateful that I decided to attend the 11:00 service at my old church when I was visiting last weekend. I wouldn't have wanted to miss THIS announcement! ha, ha
Thursday, August 21, 2008
By the end of the class last night, there was no doubt in either of our minds that this is the church we are looking to call "home". The class was led by the senior pastor, so afterwards, I took the opportunity to ask him some "insider" questions (since I've worked for a church before)... and we were thrilled with the answers! We truly believe that God is calling us to this church - I'm just amazed that we found it so quickly!! I'm looking forward to joining a small group, serving and meeting our new "family" members. I know that nothing can replace our church in Texas, nor our church family... no church will ever be the same, but I'm hoping the new can be just as good in time.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I finally got to speak to the apartment complex manager and she graciously agreed to send the tickets to me overnight. When I asked her how much I owe her, she told me not to worry about it at all. She will be receiving the largest thank you card EVER! Wow! After dealing with red tape and people skirting responsibility all day, I was so grateful to get ahold of someone with both a heart and the authority to do something outside of "normal policy" to help someone. I will rest easy when the tickets arrive tomorrow.
This is a comedy of errors to the extreme... and I'm extremely frustrated!!! I've been on the phone for 1 1/2 hours so far, with the airline, reservation company, fed ex and the apartment complex.
I'm supposed to leave Saturday at 2 p.m. and it is now Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Franklin looking inside an empty turtle shell:
Tommie & the boys looking out over "Wilderness Lake".How many rings can you count?
Franklin looking at me through a long empty log.With all of the many large hills in the woods, we took any opportunity to rest! The boys loved the giant "Tarzan" vines & had fun swinging on them. Truman found a leaf that was heart shaped.
We were certainly not alone in the woods. We found tadpoles, turtles, birds, daddy longlegs spiders, giant spider webs, huge mushrooms growing out of the sides of trees, empty seceda shells & on the final 1/2 mile, we even found a snake slithering across our path - eeeewww!
Friday, August 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
School starts TOMORROW! The big boys have school all day and Truman has Kindergarten Orientation at 1:00 p.m. His first day of school is Tuesday. I cannot believe that my days of being a mother of preschoolers has officially ended...
Friday, August 8, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
On the way home, Lucky threw up (no photos of that), so I gave both of the puppies baths - using the hose on the side of the apartment building. Fortunately for me, the side of the building that contains the hose is the side that faces the entry to the apartment complex, so we had quite a few people drive by slowly. There are 26 buildings in the complex, approximately 12 apartments per building, 45 minutes of dog washing and only one entrance to the complex - you do the math! You know, if you are going to bathe pukey puppies in the great outdoors, there's nothing like having an audience! The puppies are nearly 6 months old and I don't have a single bath picture yet. Something about having two dogs, wet dog smell, shaking water and cameras do not go well together... I can tell you that they weren't having nearly this much fun...
So I rewarded myself with a little home decor reading time when the boys went to bed. I got this book from the library and LOVE it. I wonder if I "forgot" to return it, how much they would charge my account! (just kidding!!)
Church #1 - 5
Church #2 - 4
Church #3 - 5
Church #4 - 6
Tommie & I agree (amazingly, since we hardly agree on anything else!) on what kind of a church we are looking for. Tommie grew up Baptist and I grew up in a non-denominational church that was very charismatic/pentecostal. We met at a "Christian" denomination student ministry that had a huge mix of kids from various denominations. Upon getting married, we quickly realized that we would be happy somewhere where I can raise my hands & clap and he can stand and sing - neither of us feeling pressure to do or not do either. We have been involved in different denominations each time we have moved - first, a "Christian" denomination, then an "Evangelical Mennonite" and finally a "Formerly Baptist?/Non-Denominational". I personally don't care for denominational titles and regulations, but we are not set for or against attending a church with a denomination.
Here are some of the qualities we do desire: friendliness, warm & welcoming, good children's programs, energetic & heartfelt worship, sermon with solid scriptural basis and some life application. Ultimately, we are looking for deep friendships & accountability. A place where we can love & be loved. Know & be known. (To use one of Pastor John's old phrases!)
The first step to sizing up a new church is the website. Whenever I hear about a new church, I look at the website. The lack of website tells us that the church is either REALLY small or REALLY lame. A website with graphics from 1980 or the only church event photos are from a hoedown do not speak great things about the church. Knowhaddamean? You can tell a lot about a church from it's website. Most churches list their beliefs, church history, current activities, information about the services and how to get there, etc. One of the key things that I look for on the website are the staff photos. What is the average staff age? Do the pastors have trendy haircuts or are they all wearing suits? The main thing that will cause me to scratch the church off of the list of potential churches before walking in the door are graphics from 1980 or beliefs that we do not agree with. We have personally experienced the fact (one week ago) that trendy pastoral haircuts DO NOT mean the rest of the church is trendy! It must mean that they both go to the same stylist.
The second step to sizing up a new church is to visit. At our old church, I was intimately involved in the First Impressions/Newcomer's Ministry. I had no idea that we were on the cutting edge of guest relations. I am overly critical of other churches when it comes to this area, because I have a lot of knowledge and experience on how to make a first time guest have a good experience. So far, 2 of the 4 churches have done a really cruddy job at first impressions. I'm thinking of offering my services as a consultant to help them get their act together! Sorry - I know that sounded cocky... I just think that the people running most churches have completely forgotten what it is like to be a first time guest.
For some reason, the biggest obstacle we are running into at churches in this area is the style of worship. Each of the four have been solid Bible-teaching churches with decent children's programs and sermons that include both scripture & life application. After visiting each church, we have both had the same reaction - "well, I guess we could attend that one, if we don't find anything better." The problem is that the worship is LAME. Today's church was the most promising so far. The worship leader was actually holding an ELECTRIC guitar. He barely used it, but still. I am not against hymns or praise songs from 1991, but I prefer a church that seeks to worship God with a style that is heartfelt & transparent. One where you could raise your hands, clap or cry out to God without others thinking you are off of your meds. Or one where the worship leader has actually listened to praise & worship songs that have come out in the past 5 years. (By the way, I have been to several churches that sang hymns in a heartfelt, meaningful way -- not lame.)
We will keep searching and seeking... We know that no church is perfect. We are blessed to live in an area with an abundance of churches to choose from... we just haven't found our home yet.