Tuesday, July 12, 2011

June Roundup part 3 - Moving....

So we came home from choir tour and crashed.....sleep is good. Even the kids slept in some after such a long, fun, active, strenuous week. My Main Squeeze spent most of the day Saturday packing his office, and I organized and packed around our house. I was impressed with what we were able to accomplish in just one day!

Sunday - our last at TPAC - had peaceful sadness. The sadness I felt was not for us. I know we are doing what God wanted us to do, but I know many people - dear friends - were feeling a hole in their hearts. I had peace because I know My God. Just like it took us time for God to change our hearts and be ready and open for our change to FBCN, God was already working in the hearts and lives of the family that was stepping into our place at TPAC. That gives me confidence and peace.

Sunday night, the Youth Choir gave their homecoming performance, and it was WONDERFUL.

Monday we started packing in earnest. The plan was to pack it up Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday;load the truck Thursday, and unload Friday. On Monday, my Main Squeeze went to the moving company to get some supplies, and the owner asked if we could potentially load up a day early because their schedule got messed up. He told them that he'd know better at the end of the day, but he thought it was possible. When he came home and told me that, I almost freaked - y'know mild chest pains and nausea. But then a crew of 8 TPAC students came over to the house after VBS, and within 3 hours, the entire upstairs of our house was packed! My Main Squeeze started having visions of arriving at FBCN on Wednesday night as a surprise.

More friends came over that evening and Tuesday after VBS. Our house was a maze of boxes. We scheduled play dates for our kids after VBS, and when they came home around dinnertime their eyes would be huge like saucers! They'd ask where specific things were, and I'd show them the box it was in. The students who helped wrote love notes and messages on the boxes for us. If they knew they packed something important to the kids, they'd make sure they wrote it on the outside of the box.

Tuesday at 1pm, the moving company called and said, "We have a truck near your neighborhood. Can we start loading what you have packed?" My Main Squeeze said, "Sure. You can pack it all. We are so close to done." Have I mentioned that he's an optimist? Again - a mild freakout happpened. I posted on my Facebook "Oh SNAP! The movers are here!"

It was a bustle of activity...Throwing last minute stuff in boxes. Packing clothes for the next few days in suitcases. Taking screws out of walls. Touching up paint and patching holes. Cleaning. Saying goodbyes....and by 7:30 we were on the road. We stayed in a hotel halfway there, and in the morning drove to our new home. By 10am on Wednesday, we were there moving boxes in and setting up furniture. By 6:30 we were at our new church home, meeting people and starting ministry. We totally surprised everyone, including my Main Squeeze's boss who said, "I'm glad you're here. I'm going over to Bible study." And left the building! It was all good :o)

And that's how we ended June...settling, unpacking, setting up - the boys were excited b/c we set up a TV and the Wii in their bedroom, meeting people, exploring the town, and enjoying time together.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June Round up part 2 - Choir Tour 2011

Choir Tour is my favorite time of the year. It reminds me a bit of Christmas because of the excitement and preparation, and (I'm not gonna lie) stress involved. All year, the choir I direct (ahem...directed) prepares and serves in the church and the community, but once a year we take a no-holds-barred-katie-bar-the-door-hang-on-tight-here-we-go missions trip.

This year, one of the best songs in this trip was a song called "Cry Out Your Name" Here are some of the lyrics...

When the mountains fall and the waters rise, with a trembling faith we lift up our eyes.
Let your power fall and your church arise.

As we cry out, Lion of Judah, protect us!
As we cry out, Shield of David, go before us!
As we cry out your name!

You are our help! You are enough! You give us strength when we had none!
You are our hope! Our great reward! You give us peace in the midst of the storm!

We cry out your name! We cry out your name! You are the Lord of Everything!
We cry out your name! We cry out your name! You are the Lord of Everything, Jesus!

This song really was our "theme song" for the week. The part that really stuck out to me was the way Jesus "went ahead" of us and protected us on this trip. First, I have to tell you about one of our chaperones - Mr G. He drove the church van the followed the bus from home to Ocean Springs, MS. About 20 minutes after arriving at Camp Victor (our home away from home for a week), Mr G. was sitting on his bed, but he was not totally coherent. His wife and a few other adults took him to the hospital to find out what was wrong with him. It turns out that he had a stroke. Yes, 20 minutes after we arrived at our destination. I don't even want to think about what it would have been like if it had happened 30 minutes earlier while we were still on the road. God went before us and protected us.

The amazing thing is that as a result of the stroke, he had no deficits. He was able to come home - err - back on choir tour with us 2 days later. He stood at the door of Camp Victor and hugged every single student as they walked in.

Second, I have to tell you about Brother Bill. It kills me that I don't have a picture of this big teddy bear of a man. He is the pastor of Lemoyne Boulevard Baptist Church. We sang there on Sunday night, and this church caught the vision of what we were doing before we even got there. Their church staff lined up 6 apartment complexes for us to share in. They went out before we got there, met with the management staff and set up the performances for us. They had never met us before - they had just talked to my main squeeze on the phone - yet they trusted us and what God was doing enough to put their own names (and their church) on the line. Not only did they set it up for us, but the entire staff came to each performance. They let us eat our lunches in their fellowship hall every day. They brought cups and water coolers. They even bought us ice cream!! Our tour would have looked totally different if they had not gone before us and supported us.

Third, I have to tell you about Home of Grace. It was our Monday afternoon contact. This place serves to help rehabilitate young women who have been tied down in a lifestyle of drug, alcohol, sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse. Some of the women there have been struggling and in and out of "programs" the majority of their lives. I don't know why, but this appointment weighed on my heart from the time it was booked. My job, as director, was to choose the elements that we put into the program for each appointment. We had over 50 elements prepared, but each element is geared to a certain audience (children, teens, general public, church audience, adults, etc.). I had the HARDEST time choosing the elements for this appointment. I wanted to choose elements that would show them God's love and hope, not share any more condemnation for the life of their past. I kept praying for God's leadership as I chose what to do for this appointment. As I wrote down the songs and skits, I kept feeling doubt, and I asked Jesus to confirm what He was leading me to do. When I got off the bus at Home of Grace, I felt flooded with peace, and I looked at one of our chaperones and said, "This is going to be good." And it was. By the second song, you could feel the emotional walls crumbling and the Spirit working. At the end, my Main Squeeze shared from Ephesians 2 - "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins....But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."

Those are some of the highlights from Choir Tour - I want to leave you with links to some of the "daily diary" youtube posts. They are each less than 2 minutes....You want to watch them :o)
What was a favorite memory from a ministry trip?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June Roundup...part 1

June was a crazy month for us....

I feel like I actually have to start on May 29th - It was the day that First Baptist Church Naples voted to call my Main Squeeze to be the Youth Pastor to the High School Students. It was quite a surreal weekend. We brought our kids; we brought Grammy Lu; we met up with my parents and sister, brother in law and niece. We met so many people, and we received such a warm welcome. From the parents, we felt a hunger for strong leadership for their children. From the staff, we felt excitement about bringing people on the team who were of like mind and heart. From the students, we felt a sense of cautious excitement. We were overwhelmed with the wonderful things God was doing in our lives.

That afternoon, after a wonderful lunch and enjoying time with our family, we started looking for housing. Our attempts earlier in the week were colossal failures. We both felt a sense of urgency to find just the right place to live. Fortunately, we had a good friend on the case, and we looked at many different properties. Finally, we chose one that was going to be available the exact time we needed it, and we knew that when we moved to Naples, there would be a place for us to land.

Then it was back to St Augustine and letting our dear friends know what God was doing in our lives, and to finish out our school year. Our kids teachers were amazing. They helped our children as they knew a big adjustment was coming.

Let me interject some lightness here...#1's baseball team was in the playoffs! It was such a big deal for him because toward the end of the season they started doing well, and earned a spot in the tournament. This was his first time playing baseball, and I think he's a natural. He has a strong swing and a major excitement for the game!



They ended up in the championship game, but they got spanked by the best team in the division. I was so proud of #1 because even though they got beat pretty thoroughly, he still had lots of fun and kept a great attitude. He got a trophy for playing, and it sits proudly on his dresser.

The rest of the weekend we spent celebrating graduations of students from our church.


Sometimes it was hard knowing that the next day we would be telling them that God was calling us to a different church, but at the same time it was sort of refreshing to be able to have a "normal" conversation with people because they didn't know our "big news."

Sunday the 5th, we told the church that God was leading us to FBCN. It was a heavy thud. There were 3 good things about the day. First, I got to sing with a dear friend a song that was close to my heart through it all - It was called Blessings by Laura Story. Second, my main squeeze was able to have a heart to heart with the students. He needed it. They needed it. It was sweet fellowship. Third, I got to have all afternoon with the students because we had an extended practice to prepare for choir tour. I got to talk to them and help put the news they heard that day in perspective with the fact that we were leaving in 6 days for our ministry trip.

The next week was so busy - end of the year parties, my last recital as a teacher, #1's award ceremony (he earned all A's and an art award!) and #2's preschool graduation.



I know...I know...in a few minutes I'll blink and I'll be posting her high school graduation picture. I don't want to think about it....

We also had our final practices for our Choir Tour/Missions Trip...that will be round up part 2.

I want to leave with a video of the song I was able to sing. This is not me (but I promise I sing just like that...J/k) Listen to the words. This song is what filled my heart for the month of June (and most of May!)

New approach to Rounding up....

One of my goals for the year is to "round up" each month - collect the memories of the things we did before they slip away and use them as a way to document and journal about our lives (as part of my addiction to scrapbooking). Well, as you can see, I've only completed January's - and not until mid March. What you can't see is that I have round up drafts hiding on my computer, in blogger, on my iPad, in my brain, in Photoshop....just not done because I felt like I couldn't complete it.

Well, I was already feeling a bit guilty about another New Year's resolution biting the dust, then I started listening to this episode of the Paperclipping Digi show about doing "year in review" layouts. It made matters worse, because the lady who inspired me to do this (Katie the Scrapbook Lady) was one of the guests. I listened anyway. The more I listened the better I felt. What I was really struggling with was getting it just right - telling the story the way someone else would tell it - getting my story to fit into someone elses box. Not, that Katie's prompts are bad (they aren't - they're great!!), but by answering them, I was telling the "everyday" parts of our lives, but some of the VITAL things were getting left out (or I was having a hard time finding a prompt to fit them in.) The 2 digi show episodes I listened to that day (here's the link to the other one) made me realize that I'm the only one who knows the prompts to my story.

I'll say it again...

I'm the only one who knows the prompts to my story.

I'm already starting on June's roundup. So much happened to our family this month - so much change - so many things God can only get the credit for. It will be up by the end of this week.
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