Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy New Year

It is the first Sunday of Advent, so it is the Church New Year today. So, Happy New Year!

Friday, November 30, 2007


This article in the Charlotte newspaper makes me want to spit nails. I cannot decide if I am more angry because I am pro-breastfeeding or because I am pro-immigration; but if this is the way we do things in this country, I am definitely not proud.

Update: Nursing Mother Reunited with Son

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Trimester Absence

In mid-August, I started feeling really tired all the time. I gave at a blood drive about that time, and I remember thinking that all my energy had left me with that pint of blood.

The first Saturday of September I knew the real reason: I was pregnant.

For the first 13 weeks of this pregnancy, I was nothing. I was so incredibly tired every single day. I was ravenously hungry when I was awake. And at the same time, I was nauseated, too. Three hour naps every afternoon were the only ways I could escape the hunger and nausea.

I resigned from the church I was serving at the end of September. At that point, with the way I felt, I could not keep up with all the activity that was scheduled.

I hoped that the nausea would not follow me for six months as it had when I was pregnant with my first child. I hoped it would not last five months like it did when I was pregnant with my second child.

Then, a week and a half ago, at 13 weeks and 2 days, the nausea vanished. My energy level rose. I still need a lot of sleep at night, but I haven't napped in the afternoon for two weeks now.

There are other pains to deal with though. I had to find maternity pants to wear when I was only 10 weeks along! I have a lot of stretching, and it is very uncomfortable when I sleep (even with my body pillow to help).

My due date is May 8.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Discussion Questions for High School Musical 2

This is a list of questions that I developed from the movie and used with my youth.

If you haven't seen the movie, there may be some spoiler things here; so read at your own discretion.

  1. From the very beginning of the movie, there is an anticipation of things to come (i.e. summer, car, talent show, college, kiss, etc). What are the good things about anticipation? What are the negatives?
  1. High School Musical hinted that Sharpay was wealthy. Here we see the evidence that she is. How does Sharpay’s wealth influence her? How does it affect her relationships?
  1. Jesus told a parable about a wise man and a foolish man building their houses. Sharpay builds her performance at the talent show around Troy. What happens when Troy pulls out of the talent show?
  1. Does Sharpay redeem herself by the end of the movie?
  1. How does jealousy play a part in this movie?
  1. Do you agree that Troy is a “good guy”? Why or why not?
  1. How do you respond when someone tells you that you are “not one of us”?
  1. What do you do when your friends show you things that they have and you do not possess?
  1. What is the “music in you”?
  1. What/Who is the right foundation for your life? How does it affect the way you live?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Today is the Day

High School Musical 2!!!

My sons and I have been waiting for this for quite a while.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


...we slept in!! My 4 year old DID NOT want to go to an unfamiliar church. And the room we stay in at my MIL's house is like a cave anyway because shady trees keep it dark.

I slept so good in that room this weekend. I will not tell you what time we got up because I haven't slept in like that post-children. Amazing that I could get the boys to sleep just as long without a peep from either of them.

Or maybe that was their grandparents wearing them out and keeping them from napping the whole weekend.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Thoughts at 3:30 AM

This coming weekend, I will be taking the boys to see their grandparents. All four grandparents live in the same area--within 25 minutes of each other. So it is easy to see them throughout the days that we are in town.

We will be there on Sunday. I have been thinking about going to the church where I grew up, the church that my mother still attends. But what if the preacher decides to rant about women in ministry? He has been known to rant about Muslims, Catholics, abortionists, etc. I'm sure women preachers must be on his list, too.

If the preacher were to decide to verbally attack women preachers, what would I do? Would I laugh at the irony? Would I get up and leave the service then and there? Would I scrunch down in my seat and hide? Would I stand up and shout?

Strange thoughts to be having at 3:30 AM. I stayed up too late trying to finish the ironing for this week. Ironing always gets me to thinking--my best sermon points occur when I am using an iron.

I do find it strange, however, that a church would teach its girls about God, about the love of Christ, about the call to evangelize; teaching them in Sunday School, in Mission Friends, in GAs, in Acteens only to be surprised when one of those girls decides to take seriously what she has been taught. I am a product of my upbringing. If I had never known that country church, I don't know if I would be in ministry today.

Such irony abounds.

I wonder if I will attend that church, another church, or just take the opportunity to sleep in for one Sunday. Check back sometime next week and find out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Week is Different

Today is Wednesday. It feels like a Friday. Wednesdays always feel like Fridays nowadays. It has something to do with working at a church.

When everyone else is happy to be off for the weekend, I am gearing up for a long day on Sunday.

Monday is spent on the little tasks that went undone on Sunday.

On Tuesday, my old church is having Vacation Bible School (for 5 consecutive Tuesdays--2 down, 3 to go). I am still a little involved at that church for the sake of my friendships and for the children I have taught. On Tuesdays, I am helping with the VBS for now. I am teaching the bible story...three three very different but all boisterous groups.

On Wednesday night, I teach both the youth and the children. Usually it is some missions related stuff. Last week, I had to teach the adult bible study instead.

By Wednesday, it feels like a Friday. I am ready for two days of downtime. I use Thursday as my day of rest when I can. Resting does not include resting from laundry however. I don't mind doing laundry though.

Friday is the day when everyone says TGIF. But I have to say, at the end of this (Wednes)day, TGIW.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thoughts about Breastfeeding After It has Ended

Last Tuesday, July 3rd, my youngest child turned 2. He is a sweet toddler. His temperament is wonderful except when he is tired in the late afternoon. He doesn't communicate with words much yet, but we have a speech therapist who visits once a week for 30 minutes to work with him. His lack of speech/communication issues is one of the reasons that I was still nursing him up until the day he turned 2.

Yes. I breastfed my child until age 2. There. I said it. Draw your own conclusions and then read why I feel compelled to justify this decision.

His older brother breastfed until he was 21 months. That was close to 2 years old. I kept nursing the younger brother because it was the strongest communication we had between us. I knew exactly how to calm him down and get him to settle down for a nap or for the night.

Yet, why should I feel so guilty admitting it?

I have always been pro-breastfeeding. I am not a breastfeeding Nazi like I used to be when I was nursing my first--I have met far too many women for whom breastfeeding did not work out even though they were desperate for it to work. But for me, breastfeeding was always the priority. My boys never tasted a drop of formula. It was difficult--especially with my first. All I can say is thank goodness for Lansinoh and the fact that I learned how to nurse my children while laying on the bed.

It is recommended that mothers try to nurse their babies for the first year of life. The World Health Organization even recommends two years. My goal for my first was 12 months. And then I took it month-by-month until I could tell that it was time to stop. My goal for my youngest was 18 months. And I stopped last week at his 2nd birthday.

Nursing in public has not been an issue with me with the second child. I kept to dressing rooms and out-of-the-way places with my first, but I was nursing my 3-day old infant in a restaurant without a second thought. We have nursed at the play area at the mall. At the circus. At the zoo. At church. At Christmas parties. Etc. Yet I did not nurse in public past 12 months.

The surprising fact to me is that I have felt guilty admitting to breastfeeding my toddler. Especially after 18 months, I never brought up the fact that I was still nursing. Honestly, I may have thought people would judge me for admitting it. I do not know of anyone who made it to 2 years (I just haven't met them yet). But why should I feel this way?

In the early months, breastfeeding is all about nourishment. In the last months, it is all about comforting.

Instead, I want to hold on to my memories of this time of my life. It opens a new understanding of what it means to provide nourishment to someone and, later on, comfort. It makes me reflect on the image of God as a nursing mother. A man can never understand that.

To nurse, you have to take care of yourself and be willing to provide for another creature. It means that you have slow down and stop something because your baby needs you. It forces you to pay attention and read the signs. As you look at the face of your baby and see the contentment that relaxes him or her to sleep, you see that you have a power in your milk.

I am excited to see how my toddler will grow. It is a bittersweet time as I have finished nursing. At my son's 2 year old checkup yesterday, I sheepishly told my pediatrician that I had nursed until he was 2. He said, "Good for you!"

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Choose your own adventure

Today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:

Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?
My favorite has been the Goblet of Fire. I don't know why. I guess it was because I didn't like Order of the Phoenix when I read it. I did like Half-Blood Prince though. And after seeing the movie last night, I am rereading Phoenix, so I may end up liking it better than I thought.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?
I like Neville the best. Ever since he stood up to Harry in the first book, I've been interested in him. I probably resemble him the most, too, as I feel that I am a late bloomer.

3. How careful are you about spoilers?
a) bring 'em on--even if I know the destination, the journey's still good
b) eh, I'd rather not know what happens, but I'm not going to commit Avada Kedavra if someone makes a slip
c) I will sequester myself in a geodesic dome to avoid finding anything out

A! Bring them on. I love spoilers. I read ahead in almost every fiction book I pick up. I love knowing how movies end before I see them.

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.
I predict that I will cry at some point during that book. Probably at the end.

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?
A prequel would be great. We have some glimpses into Harry's parents' lives. I would like to see the story of his mother and her family.

Option 2: Please Mommy, Anything But Those Blankety-Blank Books!

And we do mean anything:

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.
My favorite flower is the tulip.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.
I'd like to learn to play the banjo.

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one?
I do not have one. I do not care for one. My VCast phone (that I inherited from my husband) will do fine until the battery wears out.

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?
A Blendtec Blender--let them see if their own blender will blend.

5. According to News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?
It may be protected as free speech, but it is not in good taste. Surely there were other ways to make a statement.

Friday, July 06, 2007

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing T-shirt and jeans and my new watch I bought for the times I am not carrying my cellphone (Sundays at church when I need to know when to dismiss the youth Sunday School class)

2. Reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (I just picked it up at the library at 11:30, and I am already on page 52--I cannot put it down. It means that it is a good thing that I wrote 95% of my sermon for Sunday already because this book is going to be finished by this time tomorrow!)

3. Eating I just at a McDonald's Big Mac. I know, I know. But it is fast food friday here at the house after preschool (since the summer preschool session does not do a lunchtime). On the other hand, the Happy Meal toys are good ones this week.

4. Doing Reading my book, thinking about all the responsibilities I have for Sunday (and stressing), thinking of the last few paragraphs I need to write on my sermon, and checking in on my Neopets (and my friends who play Neopets and are in my guild).

5. Pondering 1. Why does my little boy not take naps since he turned 2 (on Tuesday)?

2. Are there enough clothes washed and ironed to take my husband through the middle of next week?

3. How much sunscreen am I going to need (for my pale self) next Tuesday when I take the youth to the water park?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fire up the Grill

When I was growing up, my family never grilled out. My husband's family never grilled out. So I was very anxious about my husband's determination last year to cook out on July 4th for his co-workers. One of his co-workers gave him a charcoal grill. I was very anxious. I could just see him burning the house down because we didn't know the first thing about grilling.

A friend came over to give my husband a crash course in grilling hamburgers, and the friend was there to watch my husband on July 4th. Surprisingly, everything turned out well. My husband even grilled more hamburgers later that month.

This year, on Memorial Day, my husband fired up the grill again. I had thought that he had forgotten how to grill, but the hamburgers and hot dogs turned out just fine. He had remembered exactly how to do it whether it is because he never forgets anything or else it was some primal instinct that men seem to possess when it comes to grilling.

Anyhow, for father's day, I bought my husband a couple of steaks. Steaks are a step up from hamburgers. We marinated them, and he seasoned them. My husband grilled them, and they turned out absolutely perfect. He even grilled some corn on the cob, too.

I never would have guessed that this Chinese man, raised in a Chinese restaurant, who had never cooked more than fried rice under the watchful eye of his dad, would be such a grill master. He is awesome with the grill, and he is even attempting to teach me how to grill, too.

Since I hate to cook, I won't try to learn that quickly. I do not mind relinquishing the cooking duties to him at all.

Where Else Should I Be?

I feel so grateful to be working at a church. When I stand on the platform to help lead worship each Sunday (for the past two months), I feel so happy. I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I am doing something I love to do--even if I struggle to find appropriate children's sermons each week.

I cannot imagine being anywhere else but helping the people of God worship. It is very humbling, but at the same time I feel quite empowered.

The Call to a church was five years in the making. I have stacks of rejection letters and memories of rejection telephone calls. But just experiencing the acceptance of my church now, those letters and phone calls don't mean a thing to me anymore.

VBS Fun!

I had more fun than I thought I would have last week during Vacation Bible School. We had it from Sunday night to Thursday night; and thankfully, Thursday night was a fun night for the kids with hot dogs and chips and a "Bouncy Castle" for an hour. My 23 month old saw the castle inflating and started jumping up and down--with both feet never leaving the ground. He had been in one of them before at the preschool picnic in May, and he remembered.

Our VBS was small with about 15 children. I taught 4-5 grade and had one child--but he is a handful, so I think one-on-one attention suited him well.

Overall, I think VBS curriculum is too expensive for small VBS programs. I am very tempted to write my own curriculum for next year. I had better start on it right away.

Yeah, right. Let me have a week to recover first.

Or maybe a few months.

In any event, after 12 years of not being involved with a VBS program, I have returned to the summer ritual of my youth. Only this time, I am forever leading it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Three words....

....Vacation Bible School.

I'm too exhausted to post.

Be back next week.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


My pastor called me on Wednesday morning.

He said, "Put down your pencil."

I was supposed to deliver a sermon tomorrow for Pentecost. Our pastor is away for his son's wedding festivities this weekend. Leading worship and delivering a sermon was my job for the week. But issues with the paving of the parking lot arose. The service has been canceled.

It seems strange to be free of stress this weekend. The good little church nerd that I am, I cannot help but feel a little guilt that I won't be attending any church at all this weekend. I was raised by parents who stressed church attendance on Sunday. When I was growing up, we even found a church to attend when we were on vacation and traveling on Sundays. So I do feel very strange about missing church and not planning on attending any church.

Of course, I am in the ministry, so I really should be allowed not to attend from time to time. My pastor has asked me to give him my vacation days for the next year. Can I really look at the calendar and say, "I think I'll not attend this day, and this day, and this day..."? So strange.

Missing Sunday service does not mean I am missing the Sabbath. Even though my husband and I have elected to help his sister move tomorrow, I will still take time to rest and remember and pray and think about God. Then again, maybe it is good to make everyday like a Sunday.

Have a blessed Sunday throughout your week.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thank Goodness for...

...children's church.

My boys made me Mother's Day cards during children's church on Sunday. If it wasn't for children's church, I would get nothing for Mother's Day--the boys are just too small to buy presents yet.

Of course, this year I got two cards (one from each of my sons). Last year, I only got one card because ds #2 was too little to make one. This year, he loves crayons and had no problem scrawling on the card.

It does not matter about presents or cards really. What matters is the love that we share day-to-day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


My Grandma would have been 98 years old today. She died on Christmas Eve 2005.

During this time of year, I often think of my Grandma. It was on warm, spring days that I would go to her house and pick strawberries. My family lived next door, so it was often a strawberry-picking day right after I got home from school. I would get my pan, walk the path to her house through the woods, and pick strawberries for a couple of hours. Then I would take them home and wash them. Those strawberries can't compare with the ones you buy from the store.

My Grandma was always there to talk to me. We would sit on the porch and discuss nothing really important. It was the presence that was more important. And there was always an offer of piece of pie or cake.

Grandma's house was old, but it was full of memories. I used to help her quilt. Her quilt frame hung from the ceiling in her sitting room. Grandma gave me a thimble that had been hers when she was a girl.

I can remember the smell of the wood stove. I can feel the rocking chair rock back and forth, back and forth. I remember teaching myself to cross stitch at her house on a snowy day when my brother and I didn't have school, but my mom had to work. My brother used to break off the icicles from Grandma's tin roof and melt them on the wood stove.

I miss you, Grandma. I miss you being around, praying for me, taking an interest in my life.

But I will see you again.

Friday, April 27, 2007

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: What are you....

1. Wearing

T-shirt and jeans (standard clothes for when I am not at church)

2. Pondering

How I can still have strep throat AGAIN!!! I was diagnosed with it two weeks ago today. My 10 days of penicillin ended on Sunday. By Tuesday night, my throat was scratchy again. I realized yesterday that I had the same exact symptoms that I had two weeks ago. I went to the walk-in clinic and had the strep confirmed. Now I am on stronger medication, and it had better go away. I don't think it would be very fun to have my tonsils removed at age 30.

(BTW, my 4 year old son went with me to the dr. yesterday, and I had him looked at, too, because he coughed all day long. He has tonsillitis. Just put our house under a 2 month quarantine.)

3. Reading

I am reading two books: Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres and Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich

I also have started The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis as our bedtime reading book.

4. Dreaming

Decorating my office. I have an office for the first time in my life, but I am terrible at decorating it. I have lived in my house for 3 years now, and it isn't decorated either. I guess first I will have to see how much I will use the office, but I would like a place where the youth can hang out after class.

5. Eating

Chicken salad sandwich. I had no food in my house for lunch. I ordered groceries online in the late morning. I picked them up in the afternoon, and I made myself a couple of sandwiches. I just didn't feel like walking around a grocery store for 50 minutes with two tired boys (who did nap in the car on the way to pick up the groceries).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taking Care of Mama

My boys have been sick in the past few weeks. Ear infection, pneumonia, febrile seizures....I had to go to a doctor 4 times in 6 days.

Two weeks ago, I noticed that my throat was sore. I chalked it up to the pollen in the air. I've never had allergies; but with the record pollen counts, I figured that if I was ever going to develop an allergy to pollen this was the year.

As I have cared for the boys--even taking the youngest for an EEG on Thursday (he was the one with the febrile seizure last week)--I ignored my throat.

Thursday night I could ignore it no longer. I couldn't even swallow. Plus, I developed a fever, too.

I didn't even want to say it, but I knew what it was. The doctor at the walk-in clinic confirmed it. It was strep throat. Also, it was moving into my ears because there was fluid there.

I have not had strep throat in about 18 years. When I was younger, I got it every year at least once. In Kindergarten, I must have had it four times in one winter. My mother could diagnose strep throat from the smell of my breath--too bad she is 200 miles away--she could have sent me to the doctor before now.

Thank you, God, for penicillin. Even after the first dose (and a little sleep), I was feeling a whole lot better.

I guess that this Mama needs to remember to take her symptoms of illness more seriously in the future.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Five: Dental Edition

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five

1. Are you a regular patron of dentists' offices? Or, do you go

a) faithfully, as long as you have insurance, or
b) every few years or so, whether you need it or not, or
c) dentist? what is this "dentist" thing you speak of?

Nowadays, it is A. My whole family has dental insurance, and I make sure that all of us go to the dentist twice a year.

When I was growing up, my dad had dental for a couple of years. I went to the dentist between ages 9 and 12. Thankfully, I had sealants put on my teeth; and I am firmly convinced that they saved my teeth. I had two cavities growing up. Later, my wisdom teeth impacted and caused a few more, but I have never had a root canal.

After ds #1 was born, I decided to start going back to the dentist (14 years after my last visit at age 12) and also the orthodontist. My teeth are great now--and I intend to keep them that way.

2. Whatever became of your wisdom teeth?

All my wisdom teeth were extracted. It wasn't that bad. I had heard so many horror stories, but I had a rather easy time.

3. Favorite thing to eat that's BAAAAAD for your teeth.

Unpopped or half-popped popcorn kernels. Also, sugar (esp. in the form of chocolate).

4. Ever had oral surgery? Commiserate with me.

The only oral surgery I have had was to remove my wisdom teeth. It wasn't that bad for me.

5. "I'd rather have a root canal than _________________."

I don't know. I've never had a root canal. My dh has had so many of them though, and I don't envy him.

Bonus: Does your dentist recommend Trident?

No, but they do keep trying to push tooth whitening. I have found the Crest Whitestrips to work fine, so I'll skip the in-office whitening.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Saying Goodbye

I was asked to be the lay leader today at church, and I also gave the mission moment about my time at H___ Baptist Church. Here is what I said during the mission moment:

H____ Baptist Church is the third church that I have joined.

The first church I joined was the church of my childhood. It was the church where I learned the stories: bible stories, stories about missionaries, and faith stories. The Sunday School teachers nurtured me. The Women’s Missionary Union leaders encouraged me to get involved. I sang in the choir. I completed mission action projects. I participated in Christmas plays. I sat beside my Grandma so many Sundays. As a young child, I was disruptive sometimes and had to be taken out of the sanctuary during worship. At age four, I remember thinking to myself that I was a big girl now, and I had to start keeping my eyes closed when prayers were being said.

The church of my childhood was where I first encountered death. Beloved leaders of the church passed away—sometimes all too sudden and at a young age. But it was also a place where I encountered life—true life, eternal life. It was in that church that I walked the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus, and I was baptized when I was eight. It was a place of seeking God’s will for my life as I started to realize that I was being called to do God’s ministry on earth.

The church of my childhood is not perfect. There have been bitter divisions over the years. Members have left because of conflict. People have been hurt by words and attitudes. But even through it all, this church has been a part of my spiritual journey.

The second church I joined was the church where I took a stand theologically. On a Sunday in June in the year 2000, I joined that church so that my gifts could be affirmed. I had begun attending that church ten years ago—just after I married my dh, for it was the church of his childhood. I later asked if I could complete my internship at that church because somewhere along the line I realized that church members are not supposed to be passive listeners but active participants.

It was a church that taught me how to listen, how to speak, how to learn within the context of ministry. The church members offered a lot of feedback and a lot of encouragement. I was licensed to the gospel ministry by that church. The staff became my friends. It was not a perfect church—I have attended deacon’s meetings to attest to that fact. There were discussions about whether to display an American flag outside the church. There were discussions about baptism and how it applied to new members who had not been a part of a Baptist church. There were your usual dramas and power struggles that go on in any group. Yet I found a church that could understand me and my spiritual journey and support me.

I was still a member of that church when I moved to the Triangle. I thought since I was about to graduate with my Masters of Divinity that I would not change my membership until I was called to that church where I would work. But that was not to be.

The third church I joined was H_____ Baptist Church. And it is in this church that I have learned about love and service. From 2002 to mid-2004, I had not been an active part of any church. We visited a church in Morrisville for a while when we were living near RTP. But we did not join because I thought I would not be able to stay for long if I was called to a position. In June 2004, my family moved to north Raleigh. I knew that I would find a church where I could be an active member once my family was settled. Within a month, I had begun attending H_____ Baptist Church.

It was unlike any church that I had ever attended. First, there was a sense of community. Perhaps because the church is so young, the members make visitors feel welcome and seek to engage them in worship and the weekly activities. Second, there was a sense of acceptance. It was perfectly fine for my then two-year-old ds to make a little noise during worship. This church supports families of all kinds. Third, there was a sense of vision. This church is not a church based on programs and tradition. It is a church that sees needs and works to address them. And it is all about love.

I am a part of a church that encouraged me to stand and proclaim the good news. I am a part of a church that welcomes my toddler into a Sunday School room and doesn’t mind it when he chooses a loud toy to pick up. I am part of a church that offered me care after my second ds was born and after my grandma passed away. I am a part of a church where I can see that members have an investment in the health of the congregation—where they seek to deal with conflict in positive ways and do not create power struggles. I am a part of a church where my biracial children do not have to feel that they are different because we have many races here. I am a part of this church. I come here with joy because I know that when I hit that door, I feel the presence of God. And God’s love for me is present when I am in this place. It is not a perfect church—nothing on this side of heaven is perfect. There is still a lot of growth to come. There will still be conflicts that arise. There will always be some who disagree with a theological stand that this church takes. But it is a place where I have found a fellowship of faith, hope, and love.

H_____ Baptist Church is a place where I can serve God. Since it is a small church and not program driven like older churches, there is an initiative for all members to be involved. It amazes me to see the members here step into roles of leadership and nurturing. We are a people who are attentive to the Holy Spirit and do not seek to just be fed during worship on Sunday morning. At least, that is the way I see this community of faith.

H_____ Baptist Church is the third church I have joined.

Next week, I will join another church. I have been called. For so long I have waited for God to show me where I would go. But I admit that in leaving this church, I feel that the call has come too soon. I ask for your prayers and your blessing. Thank you.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I think I first heard about this book on some NPR show (Diane Rehm Show?), and I bought it and put it into my to-read pile (that keeps growing, and growing, and...). The other day I read an article that about young adult fiction, and The Book Thief was one of the bestsellers in that category. So if the young people like it, I knew that I had to read it soon.

It was good.

The story is about a young girl named Liesel who lives in Germany during the time just before and during World War II. Even before the girl knows how to read, she steals a book. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read. And she steals more books. Since the book is set in Germany during WWII, the book also deals with the Nazi Party, the Holocaust, and war.

The most remarkable thing about the book is that Death narrates the story. This fact offers some chilling scenes. There is also a lot of foreshadowing since Death is looking back on this story from the end of Liesel's life. (The foreshadowing is good for me because I like to know what will happen later on--I often read ahead--I can't help myself!)

At around 550 pages, this book would have been considered too lengthy for young adults some years ago. But if young adults can handle the length Harry Potter tomes, I can see why they are not scared away by the size of books anymore.

I do recommend this book to older readers, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I was called unanimously to be the Minister to Youth and Children at _____ Baptist Church. The pastor called me about an hour after my family left the luncheon.

I will officially begin at the church on Easter Sunday. The church I currently attend wants the opportunity to acknowledge I have been called and send me out. I have missed attending my church. I was out of town last week and at the new church this week.

For a while after I begin this new position, I will continue to teach the preschoolers at the former church on Tuesday night. I will do this to help the children (and me) transition into this new chapter. Both pastors have agreed that Tuesday nights are my own to do as I see fit. Maybe it is a big jump going from teaching preschoolers to teaching youth, but I know that the thing that is similar is the relationships that have to be formed.

It is an exciting time for me. I can see so much potential for growth at this church to which I am called. I only hope that I can be attentive to the Holy Spirit and catch the vision.

Any advice from other ministers is greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sunday at a New Church

On Sunday, I will take my family to a new church. It will not be like any other new church we have visited because I will participate in the worship service. I will pray the offertory prayer, and I will read the scripture lesson. After church, my family will stay for the covered dish luncheon. After the luncheon, the church will vote on whether to call me to be their minister to youth and children or not.

Can I just say that anxiety is running high?

The position is part-time (like there is such a thing in ministry). I will not have to put the boys in full-time childcare. I am not required to keep office hours, but instead I can do much of the preparation at home. And the church is only about 20 minutes from my house.

My goals are to have relationships with the youth and children and their families. And to smile more than anyone else at the church.

God be with me.



I usually have a handful of books around the house that I am currently reading. It feels much better to actually complete them sometimes though. I finished one book and read two others today! Wow! Just typing that makes it seem like a big accomplishment.

I finished Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor today. It had been on the bedside table for a few weeks, but I wanted to finish it before the RevGalBlogPals discuss it on Monday. It was very good for me to read this just before I am about to start my first ministry position. Taylor reflects a lot on not defining oneself based on what he/she is doing.

This morning, I read For God's Sake, Shut Up! by Brian Kaylor. I love the title. It is only 118 pages, and Kaylor has a good style of writing--lots of examples, lots of stories, and humor. The subtitle is "Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively and When to Remain Silent." I doubt that the people who need to read this book will ever pick it up, but it is a good book for a preacher to read and to reflect upon.

After I got the boys to sleep (by reading chapter fourteen of The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis), I saw the book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo on the bedside table. I have been meaning to read the book, and I was able to read the entire thing in about thirty minutes. It has a great message in it. Now I'll have to go to my Netflix account and put the movie version in my queue.

I have often noticed that I read in spurts. I may not pick up a book for a month, and then suddenly I may read several books in the course of a week. In the recent past I have finished Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (The Memory Keeper's Daughter is the Wake Reads Together book for our county this year). I read it on Monday and Tuesday of this week (I could not put it down).

I still have lots of books that I hope to read soon. I buy them faster than I can read. I have also found that Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is wonderful. I am reading Wendy M. Wright's Seasons of a Family's Life because of ILL.

I wonder when this reading spurt will end. I do have a stack of magazines that are piling up....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"The Call"

What's that I hear? A Call? A church is interested enough to call me into a ministry position?

What's that I feel? Anxious? Excited? Overwhelmed because the interview was just this afternoon?

What do I need? To sleep. To pray. To listen for the Holy Spirit.

More details will be forthcoming....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Global Warming and the End Times

There is an excellent blog post by Tony Cartledge of the Biblical Recorder that went up today.

It is called Premillennial Warming.

My own comments about the topic are posted under Cartledge's post. (I'm the second one to comment.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jack Bauer

When I was a teenager, I never had a crush on a star from a movie or television show. I remember many of my friends having those kinds of crushes (even my dh admits to crushing on Alyssa Milano). It never happened to me in all of my 30 years...until a few weeks ago. I discovered I had a crush on Jack Bauer from the television show 24 (played by actor Kiefer Sutherland). It isn't a crush on Sutherland--it is a crush on the role he plays.

My dh started watching 24 a couple of years ago. Since three of the seasons were out on DVD, my dh watched the entire three seasons in three weekends. Since then, he has watched the other seasons as that have premiered on television. Last year, I watched season five with him as it aired because I realized it was something we could do as a couple (since those kinds of things are scarce in these days of raising preschoolers). I didn't have a crush on Jack Bauer then. It happened this season. Precisely, it happened about two weeks ago.

Something about how nicely that gray t-shirt was fitting him as he began interrogating his own brother. Suddenly, I am looking forward to Monday nights a whole lot more than I thought. Thank goodness for our DVR this season. Not only do I not have to rush getting the boys asleep, I can also watch episodes again.

My dh thinks it is amusing. He has been vocal in the past about the actresses that he finds attractive. He has been laughing at my crush since this past weekend. I am just so silly.

I have noticed that Jack Bauer has quite the Messiah complex--always offering himself as a sacrifice to save other(s). Gotta love those (potential) martyrs, I guess.

But how does he keep that t-shirt so clean?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Flight Delay

I am awaiting the arrival of my beloved dh. He has been away for a week's training for his company. He flew out Sunday morning, and I flew (driving) to Sunday School to make it in time. DH was supposed to be here by now (Friday 9:33 PM). His flight left without him because it was overbooked. He will try to make it on the next one, but there are fifteen others trying to do the same.

It was his first flight without family. I hope he isn't scared. Maybe since he is 30 he will be fine.

I wonder if he will come tonight. I wonder if the boys will be upset if he doesn't arrive today. They have been missing him. I have too.

Anticipation and anxiety. I wonder where his bag will end up.

Monday, January 29, 2007

He Leadeth Me

Philippians 3:13b-14 (TNIV)
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I am in a better frame of mind than last week thanks to a good sermon at church yesterday and a good small group discussion last night.

"He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought"

He leadeth me, O blessed thought, O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate'er I do, where'er I be, still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, he leadeth me, by his own hand he leadeth me!
His faithful follower I would be, for by his hand he leadeth me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I found a position to apply for last month. It was an associate preschool minister position. For once, I was qualified. I have the experience dealing with preschoolers in our church, and I am getting the education through a certification program over the next few years. The Baptist State Convention of NC is even having me train to be a Preschool Resource Specialist next week so that I can help train preschool workers and churches in the state.

So I had two interviews. I felt really good about both of them. The last one was Monday night, and I felt like the church would be a perfect fit for me. They would let me know very soon.

Wednesday morning I get a call.


They praise my talent and enthusiasm. They wish me well. But what is wrong with me?

It hurts so much.

A big part of it is that interviewing with a church makes you so vulnerable. You cannot misrepresent yourself--you have to be open, honest, revealing. I don't usually bear my heart to complete strangers when I have just met them. But you have to do that with search committees and personnel committees.

My heart is torn open. I feel naked.

I am angry; I am sad; I am hopeless.

I can't cry because my children will cry. They don't understand how useless I feel. As long as I am still there to make them lunch or change a diaper, I have an iota of value. But I want to be used for ministry. Isn't that what God has called me to all my life?

God, why do you call me to full-time ministry and never open a door?

"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Mark 7:28

One crumb. Is it too much to ask?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Reading the Chronicles of Narnia Aloud

If you look over to the right of my posts, you will see that I have been reading the final Chronicle of Narnia to my sons. We finished The Last Battle last night. I started reading the series to my sons as they were falling asleep after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came out on DVD last year. My 4 year old watched parts of it with me, and he was interested in hearing me read the story. I have to say though that most nights I end a chapter with both of them already asleep.

It will be a while before they can appreciate the stories like I do. I have read the series every 4-6 months for the past 10 years. I have read the stories to my boys in the order they were written instead of the chronological order that the publishers use to sell their editions. That order is: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician's Nephew; and The Last Battle.

I have found throughout the series that I get quite emotional when I read aloud the parts about Aslan coming into Narnia and meeting the children. I had listened to Focus on the Family Radio Theater's Chronicles of Narnia when I was driving to divinity school and back every week. That series is great, but I found that I enjoyed reading them aloud much more.

The real kicker was the last half page of the last book.

(Spoiler: Don't read on if you don't want to know the conclusion.)

That last half page is the one where Aslan tells the children that they do not have to fear being sent back to their own world because they are in Narnia to stay. A railway accident in the "Shadowlands" (as C.S. Lewis calls this life we live here on this earth) has brought the characters into Aslan's own country.

I'm glad my sons had already fallen asleep last night by the end of that final chapter. It would have been difficult to explain why I was crying. My oldest gets upset at my tears. Yet just like the title of my blog, I am one who is longing for home. I want to get to Aslan's own country, too. And one day I will.

Today at church, we sang two hymns: "How Great Thou Art" and "Victory in Jesus" (two hymns that I don't have to look at the lyrics to sing). Both end with a view of heaven. And I thought about heaven--a heaven shaped by what I had read last night.

The Last Battle is about the end of Narnia. It is an end filled with hope.

Aslan brings the children out of our world into Narnia so that by knowing Aslan there, they could know him better in their own world. I think that I do understand Aslan and Aslan's country a little better because of this series.

And tonight, I think that we will be starting the series all over again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Women as Professors in SBC Seminaries

While I am no longer Southern Baptist, I still have my roots there. That is why I offer this blog about the removal of a woman from Southwestern Seminary's faculty. It is on Wade Burleson's weblog.

The story of Sheri Klouda's removal from the SWBTS faculty

I was very interested to learn how varied the response has been in this matter.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Warm Epiphany

I woke up this morning ready to clean the whole house. Spring fever has set in because of the mild temperature here today. It is in the 70s.

But it isn't Easter yet!! It is Epiphany.

I hope that I remember the warmth next week when it gets cooler.

Since the Christmas season is over now, I will take down my Christmas decorations. I never knew that Christmas lasted 12 days until after I discovered the Christian calendar in graduate school. Blame it on the baptist upbringing.

When I was growing up, we had to take down the Christmas tree by New Year's Day or it was bad luck. Most of my friends take their trees down the day after Christmas (or late on Christmas day). That is good for them because some of them had been enjoying the decorations since just after Halloween!

I leave my decorations up until Epiphany now. And just yesterday I remembered that I had two presents stashed away for my boys that I forgot about giving to them at Christmas (blame that on Christmas stress). Maybe it is time to start a new tradition--giving of gifts on Epiphany.

Oh, wait...I think that has already been done.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Scripture for the New Year

One of the laypeople at our church preached yesterday. And she did an excellent job. The lectionary passage Colossians 3:12-17 was the text. It is a worthy goal for the new year to live up to Paul's model as found in this passage.

Colossians 3
12. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

14. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

16. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

17. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Our speaker told us to hear this passage as if it were addressed to us. And that was enough to help me realize that if I could only do half as much as Paul is asking me to do here, I would have a good attitude to start 2007. I am hoping to keep this passage of scripture before me as my guide this year. Amen.