Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Places!!

Our family moved to Memphis about eight years ago. At the time we had 3 kids with the youngest being one. Then within a couple of years we had our 4th child. I remember people would ask us if we were going to do this or that and I would way!! The thought of taking 4 kids anywhere new caused me to break out into hives. Shoot, the thought of taking 4 kids out to dinner caused my blood pressure to rise.

So, for a season my world got really small. My life was oriented around my home and my family and the area of town where we lived and the area of town where I worked. The past 6 years truly have been wonderful. Time spent with my family and in relationship with friends has been sweet. And I would not trade those years for anything.

However, today I'm realizing that my world is expanding...and I'm pretty pumped. By nature I like to try new things and go new places and explore.

Recently I've started working for a ministry in Memphis called Habitat for Hope. Little did I know when I started working with these folks just how much fun I would have. Here are some of my new hang outs.

Le Bonheur - (This is a post by a friend) I'll be here on a regular basis hanging out with families. Recently I was able to take Clara with me when we served lunch to the staff of one of the floors. We had a blast serving together.

Habitat for Hope Apartments
- The first week of summer vacation my daughter Hannah and her friend Erin went with me to clean the apartments to prep for new families moving into the apartment. These apartments are provided to families at no cost.

Habitat for Hope - Last week I had a meeting with Mylissa on the front porch of the 48 acre property. It was lovely and relaxing. The boys were able to go with me and had a blast playing with several boys. They started by playing Legos and then they moved outside for a duel under a canopy of trees. Working while hanging out with my boys is pretty sweet.

We've also had staff meetings at a couple of local places Republic Coffee and Cheffies Cafe.

Little did I know that I would be able to take my family along with me while I worked. For that I'm very grateful. Next week I'm going to treat my kids to a Paleta just because well I think they are awesome!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

But I want...

This image is great!! It was a picture taken by my friend Lana. She took a picture of my daughter Clara writing the word love. I LOVE it!! So cool and creative. Lately I've been thinking about love, what it really means. I say the word all the time and yet how often do I mean it and live it.

I'm taking the time to think about the famous love chapter. So far I've looked at two phrases, Love never gives up and Love cares more for others than self. Truthfully I could probably camp out on the "Love cares more for others than self" for the rest of the year, maybe even the rest of my life.

The next phrase is
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Well crud...another phrase that I will be working on for the rest of my life. The reality is that in our culture this is tough to live out. Watch one set of commercials and you realize that advertising strives to get you to want what you do not have.

And, I'm thinking that wanting what we don't have just might come quite naturally. If you've ever been around small children, you will notice fairly quickly that a toy does not hold much allure unless someone else has it.

All too often we are green with envy.
All too often we are bitten by the green-eyed monster.
All too often we want what we do not have.

IF it is natural for us to want what we don't have. IF culture screams at us to want what we don't have. Then, we must replace that with something else.

For this week I'm going to watch my words and thoughts. I'm going to notice how many times I say I wish. I wish I had ____. I wish I was more like_____ I wish I could _____. Because really when I say or think those words I'm wanting what I don't have.

What would my life look like if instead I choose to be thankful for who I am and what I have. There is a great book that I have started reading called One Thousand Gifts. This book asserts that when we give thanks, we find ourselves wildly loved by God. In expressing gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted---a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others

I want to live fully right where I am in this moment!!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Still I will Praise Him!!

In this post last week I reflected on how Christ is hope in the midst of darkness. The image was taken in Joplin, MO. Many lives were lost in Joplin. Many people were injured. Many homes were destroyed.

Within just a few days several of my friends went to help. Our pastor and his wife, Scott and Suzanne, have family in Joplin and were the first to go. Shortly after them a group of guys from our church went.

Within minutes of finding out about needs, people generously responded. Personally I posted a need for 4 car seats on Facebook. Within 20 minutes that need was met. Donations flooded into our church and were delivered to The Bridge. in Joplin.

Here's a note from Suzanne's Facebook.

"Sunday in Joplin, one week after the storm, I stood crying in church as people sang "there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes, still I will PRAISE YOU!" with hands raised to God, tears streaming down their faces! These same people met each other in the halls, hugging and exclaiming things like, "You lived! I'm so glad you're okay!" And many of them were exhausted from working hard all week, helping their neighbors and strangers. After church I watched the amazing New Hope guys doing an awesome job, clearing fallen trees under a hot sun. They were sunburned, sweating, and I love their servant hearts. Singing to God, sweating for Jesus, both of these are worship -- and my eyes are filling again"

Devastation. Loss. Heartache. Hurt. Pain.
Hope. Love. Praise. Service. Worship.

Troubles will come.
We see the devastation on the news.
We feel compassion.

This week the devastation moved closer to home.
My heart hurts.
Tears well up in my eyes just to think it.

This week...
A wife lost her husband in a tragic accident.
A couple lost their son a month before he is born.
A couple learned that the chemo won't cure the cancer in their baby, it will simply slow it down until she is old enough for radiation.

For these friends, these aren't stories.
This is reality.
This is life.
Their hearts are broken.

Yet they Still Praise Jesus.
He is their Hope.
They choose to put their faith in Him.

Please pray for these families this week and in the weeks to come.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What Does Love Really Mean?

Lately I've been pondering what love really means. Let's face it, we all want to be loved. Period.

A song released by the Beatles right after I was born sums it up in the chorus. According to Wikipedia "The Beatles were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalitites." This song was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link.

All you need is love.
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

What was true in 1967 is still true today. We all need and want love. That I can agree with. But...I am wondering what the world would look like if we shifted our focus. I wonder what would happen in this world if we stopped needing love and started giving love.

It's easy to receive love, but harder to give love.
It's easy to say the words "I love you", but it is much harder to live the words "I love you".

Love cares more for others than self!!
These words from 1 Cor. 13 sum up what I am trying to say. Today....let's care for others more than we care for ourselves. Now that would make the world a better place.

Okay so that wasn't intentional...but leads to some lyrics from Michael Jackson.

I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

or from "Heal The World"

Heal the World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race
There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me

If You Want To Know Why
There's A Love That
Cannot Lie
Love Is Strong
It Only Cares For
Joyful Giving

What if today I really loved my neighbor as myself?
What if today I really considered others better than myself?