Friday, March 30, 2012

100 thanks

This week at Compelled Shawn challenged everyone to write down 100 thinks they are thankful for this week...in the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Here's a start.

Shawn, John, Anna, Andrew, RJ, Compelled, Carman Road, Friends, Family, playing piano, music, Christian radio, Indian food, flowers blooming, fundraising to go to Africa, real mail, drawing, cooking new things, kids laughter, flip flops, bike rides, fresh tomatoes, reading, journaling, the beach, listening to my son play guitar, small group, hiking, silly texts from friends, chocolate, going out to lunch on fridays with Minnie, Art and friends, visiting friends, a good week of school, planning my garden, dreaming about ministry in South Sudan, reading blogs, long talks with Shawn, laughing at The Office, the color teal, silly nicknames, strawberries and waffles, doing crafts with the kids, teaching Anna piano, anticipating summer night bonfires...these are a few of the things I am thankful for today!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

what's up?

It's been a while since I posted so I thought I should do some updates!

A couple weeks ago we traveled to Ohio and PA to see friends that we hadn't seen in two years and to talk about our passion for South Sudan (and hopefully get some people to join our home team!) We had a great time, and we even got to relax a bit. We stopped at the Newports to see Shawn best friend from college (and best friend still) Matt and his amazing wife, Patti. Our kids hit it off instantly and there was a new generation of friendships formed. We even talked about how RJ and Andrew could end up going to Nyack with Micah and cause all sorts of trouble! haha We enjoyed our entire time in the Ohio/PA...it was wonderful! (See my previous post for more on this!)

We realized that as much as we enjoyed the people there, NY is home right now. Funny how God does that, huh? We really missed these church families, and were happy to be back and playing in the worship team, meeting up with friends here, and continuing the work we are called to here. I guess that is one of the harder points about being in ministry (or any work) where you move around a lot...there is always someone you are missing.

Last weekend was Andrew's 10th birthday, and we had a party that was all things Angry Birds. He is a special, amazing kid. He makes me smile so often, and my grandma always calls him "Andrew with the Twinkling Eyes." She is right! I am so thankful for this kid! He had never had a party before other than a few family members, and he was so excited for Saturday that we should have cancelled school Thursday and Friday for as much as we got done! :) Thanks to everyone who came and loved on him!

Then yesterday we had lunch with Hannah, Christina, and Bishop Love. We were seeking his permission to speak to other priests and churches in the Albany Diocese about our missions stuff, and he gladly gave it. We were pleased with the permission and felt like God may be giving us some special relationships through this process. It continues to be amazing to see Him work...the things I plan and count on usually do not work, yet suddenly another surprising thing happens and I have to remember that He is the one making all this play out! Will I ever learn to stop relying on my emotions and my own finite plans?

Finally, at Compelled last night (which is ALWAYS a huge blessing) we talked about thankfulness. Yes, this continuing theme in my life that pops up everywhere! So I am intentionally going to thank God for everything this week. And I won't lie...saying that out loud scares me a little! But I know that His plans are best for me and He knows exactly what he is doing. I can't thank without trusting, and He is working on that one in me, too!

So, this is not my typical post, but there has been so much happening I wanted to thank you all for praying and keeping up to date on us!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

eating our way through OH and PA

Here is a quick post on what's happening this week during our Ohio and PA visit. It has been an amazing time catching up with friends and "family" as we have have eaten together, talked, eaten together, played games, eaten together, slept, eaten together, shopped, eaten together, had bonfires, and eaten together some more!
I remember why I gained so much weight when we lived here! haha! People are amazing cooks, and feeding someone is a way of showing love!
Anyway...
God has been gracious in giving us time each day to just visit and relax and enjoy these relationships that he has blessed us with. People have listened to our stories of the churches we are currently pastoring and the mission we are anticipating in South Sudan. They have patiently watched out video, looked at pictures, and asked questions about our plans, our calling, and our passions. The kids have politely left the room after about the 10th time of hearing all this! hahahaha! Ah, the life of an MK!
Today we get together with a couple more families, eat some more, and I get to visit Stepping Stones, a ministry out of Kinsman Chapel started by the amazing Kara Michaleski and a few friends. Then we will end the beautiful March night appropriately - with bonfire #2 with the McLaughlin family!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oaks of Righteousness

"The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound...that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." Isaiah 61:1, 3b


Yesterday the ministry we are partnering with in North Central Troy called Oaks of Righteousness officially opened their ministry center/cafe. It is called Oaks Cafe, and it is where the old M&M Diner was for those who are local. This ministry center will be used for outreach and benevolence to the community. A couple of blogs below I wrote about the women starting this ministry, and what their friendship means to me. We are excited to be a part of this team working together.

We started with an open house from 2-5 PM. There was a good mix of people coming and going.






After an open house, we did a prayer and blessing service. We started off walking through the area and singing Amazing Grace


After we went inside, and I experienced my first Episcopal Church service (within the USA). It was a wonderful time of prayer, a thought-provoking sermon by Christina, songs, and communion together. To experience it with friends, knowing that I will be experiencing many more services with this flavor in South Sudan, was a good thing.
I am so thankful for this ministry, these friends, this opportunity, and this life.

Friday, March 2, 2012

3 of green

Today's joy dare (courtesy of this blog: http://www.aholyexperience.com/) is thankfulness for 3 things that are green. I am thankful for my house (which is partly green- the sides and back!), my favorite pajama pants that were hand me downs from my sister, Krissy and have little red hearts all over them (yes, cheesy, but oh-so-comfy!), and little splotches of green peeping out from the snow to remind me that yes, indeed, spring really is on it's way!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 at 3

I have taken on the Joy Dare from Ann Vokamp (See her blog aholyexperience.com). This started in January and I just discovered it in February, but I figure I can roll it over into next year! ;) Today's dare: Joy in 3 gifts at 3. Hmmmmmm...I am sick today and was fast asleep at three o'clock! So I guess my thankfulness answers would be:
1. Rest for a sick body in a warm bed with fluffy pillows
2. Kids playing quietly and contentedly so I could rest
3. A husband who came home not long after and shut the door around so the noise would filter out and then found some videos on youtube to encourage me of God's (and his) love for me. (I am a little overly emotional when I am sick!)

This dare has been challenging for me. It's easy to see some of the things (my kids and husband) and some of the thanks comes easy. But some I have had to think about! 3 "ugly beautiful" gifts (gifts that have come from things not seen as beautiful or hard things.) A gift of tin, of glass, and of wood; 3 gifts that changed today.

I thought about blogging all of these gifts each day - but honestly, I wouldn't get to it! And some of the gifts are very personal - hardly able to be put to words. But once in a while I am going to pop up and ask you if you have been taking this dare. Because I have to say, I can see how it is changing my outlook to focus on the things of thanks (even the ugly beautiful things) instead of focusing on pity, sadness, anxiety, and anger. The Holy spirit is breaking something in me - changing me from the inside out.

So, for Friday the dare is: 3 gifts of green. Let me hear them, people!