A Few of my Favorite Things

I promise you, I have no intention of grabbing a guitar, jumping on my bed and singing about raindrops or kittens ala Julie Andrews today. There is enough violence in the world without my tuneless singing.. I do however want to share with you some of my newly discovered favorite places to be or people to listen to. In no particular Order.

1. Tulsa Garden Center – the place to hang out with your family or learn about what grows in Oklahoma.

2. Blotanical – the web page where all the garden bloggers bloom.

3. Creating Culture – Randy Elrod. I just met Randy last month in Nashville. He has the most amazing blog – huge following too. You need to check him out.

4. Michele Cushatt – another blogger I met in Nashville. What an amazing heart.

5. Michael Hyatt-  Publishing CEO, Michael Hyatt shares all kinds of great stuff on writing, publishing and twittering on his blog. Check him out, I have. What a gift to writers to have this resource. I’m thrilled he is doing this.

6. How to Handle Criticism by Steve Erry – great post

7. Camp Lutherhoma– right here in Tahlequah Oklahoma. This camp is run by John and Joan Busch, Kristy Haines,  and a bunch of other staffers – my kids have gone there for years. They are growing and changing by the day. Your kids will have a blast, learn about Jesus and be loved through and through. They will come back changed. Mine always do.

8. CJ Rapp– Blog tour coming soon. CJ is president and CEO of Unfading Beauty Ministries. I’m presently reading her newest book, “I AM says You Are…” It is a 30 day devotional that speaks God’s truth to the very heart of women. I’m a 43 year old Bible Teacher – and this book speaks over me in ways that made me cry. In a good way of course. Great read.

9. This Ain’t Prettyville– Chonda Pierce. Maybe you guys all know who she is, but I honestly had never seen her until five years ago at a Women of Faith conference. I’ve since had the privledge to work with her, behind the scenes, as one of her Turbos. Turbos are women (and men) who work hard, love well, help promote the show and coordinate volunteers. Her story rips my lungs out. Her life, speaks of hope, forgiveness, love, and an amazing God. She is also hilarious to boot.

10. Don’t Give In, God Wants you to Win. – Thelma Wells. Another amazing woman of faith, with a story that blows me a way, and a mothering spirit I had no idea I craved, until I met her. She has a conference coming up in May. You will not want to miss this.

So there you have it. My favorite top ten right now.

I’m going to the dentist tomorrow for a root canal. I’m thinking after that, I just may post my ten least favorite places to be. 😉 Starting with that one.

Before then though – would you please share with me one of your favorite places or people?


That Can’t Mean Me. Right?

The directions begin with a simple step: “For safety, two people are required for assembly.”

Surely, those directions do not refer to me. I’m a redhead. I can build this by myself. I used to build switches for Sprint Communications for heaven’s sake. How hard can a wall unit book case be? After all it is my book case for my new office that he helped me paint. I know I can do this.


my new book case
“For Safety, two people are required for assembly.”

If Jeff were home to help me assemble this he would know that:

  • I lost the picture of what it looks like finished.
  • I did find the schematic which has a list of all needed parts.
  • I now know that I am missing 56 wood hinge thingies (Jeff says they are dowel rods), 48 bolts, and 36 screws
  •  This book case has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

For safety purposes? I’m thinking it’s best he doesn’t help me.

Ever been there?

Edited at 9 pm – Jeff is laughing at this.  He promises to help me finish it on Wed – isn’t he sweet? So, I guess the directions were right – it really does need two people for assembly. I am so happy to be married to a man with a sense of humor.

He’s just happy that I’m building something this time, instead of ripping something out. I tend to start projects that way.. pick at things until is HAS to be replaced.

—————— Edited on April 15, 2009

My wonderful husband, Jeff, went to the hardware store this weekend and bought the missing screws. Wasn’t that sweet? He then spent Easter evening putting my new book case together and hanging some pictures for me in my new office.

Here is the finished project.


Filling Eggs and Filling Hearts at Ablaze

Snow, in April! In Oklahoma. How can we have snow? It’s already Spring. It can’t snow in the Spring. But, snow it did. A winter storm hit Tulsa last weekend and we had to cancel church services. Talk about being disappointed.  We had a pot luck planned, and people were coming from all around town to help us stuff Easter eggs. 15,000 Easter Eggs to be exact. And now, it was cancelled. Our team did not know what we were going to do.

We thought for sure we\’d never get enough people together to stuff 15,000 eggs by April 11. A handfull of helpers did manage to meet and stuff 2,000 of the eggs last week. But what were we going to do this week?

I mean this is a lot of eggs.


And Jenn had a lot of candy to put in them.


We thought if we told people there would be food, they would come.


And we were right.


our-helpersThank you Jen and Errick for coordinating this event. You\’re hard work will be blessed by God. Thank you as well to the members of Ablaze, Lord of Life, and Our Savior Lutheran Churches for coming out on Saturday night to worship with us and to serve by our side.

See you Saturday, April 11 – Liberty Elementary School in Broken Arrow, at 1:00 pm.

A heart that is loved, loves. A heart that loves, also prays.

I am woman of deep convictions. Most people who know me – really know me – know that. I’m passionate and artistic.  I love God with my entire soul. I choose to love people the same way. Those who don’t know my heart – think I’m eccentric. I think that’s probably PC for “weird.” I’m passionate in my faith, in my opinions, and in my love. I love deeply and openly – I dance with those who dance, laugh with those who laugh,  hurt with those who hurt and I pray for those called to lead us. If that makes me weird, I’m totally okay with that today. If you aren’t okay with that, that’s okay too.

 I worked in a church for three years (I no longer do). I know the pressures and burdens carried by church staff and by pastors. I’ve seen them in action. I’ve seen them in prayer. I’ve seen them love with everything they have. I’ve seen them cry. I’ve seen them fail. And I’ve seen them reach out for the Grace and forgiveness of God and try again. I was just the receptionist, and yet I saw so much that my heart shattered. Truthfully, I don’t know that I would change a thing. If I have to choose between loving deeply and grieving, verses never loving at all – I’ll choose love.

 I used to prayer walk the church on my lunch hours and my breaks. I remember the day I got “caught” in pastor John’s office – I had laid hands on his chair (he wasn’t there) and was deep in prayer for him when someone walked in and offered a very shocked “WHAT are you doing?”

“Praying for your pastor.” I replied.  “You should try it sometime.”

Okay, so add “tacky” to my self descriptive adjectives.

It was also my job to print the bulletins and place them throughout the sanctuary. The pastors wanted copies on the Altar and on the pulpit for reference. If they thought my praying over their chairs was shocking, I can only imagine how they would have reacted to my being in the pulpit and at the altar in prayer every Friday.

There were, and are still, people who mistake my love for something dirty and degrading instead of in the purity it is intended – to them I have learned to say “So what.  Get over it.”  I learned while working that church, that I serve to an audiance of One – I serve God and God alone. God calls us to be passionate. God calls us to be alive in Christ. Passion for His Word and His people is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We live because He lives.

The world needs people who are alive. The world needs prayer. Praying over that congregation or their pastors was not part of my job description – it was and is part of who I am. I love doing that.

 I have a guest blogger today. Len Carter is our music director at my church. This is his article from April’s Footsteps. Len’s words are as needed and relevant today as ever.

 Pray for Your Pastor

 I was reminded the other day while reading from “Partners in Prayer” by John Maxwell how important it is to lift up our Pastor regularly in prayer. As a staff member and Church Liaison, I get to work hand in hand with Pastor Dreier on a regular basis and see first hand the pressures and struggles he gets to deal with not only personal but for the church, it’s members, and many in our community who seek his counsel.

Pastor Dreier often says of himself, “I’m not perfect even though you might think so.” (That’s his running joke)  With that in mind I would like to relate a funny piece called “The Perfect Pastor.” It relates many of the expectations that every pastor feels from his people.

After hundreds of years the perfect pastor’s been found. He is the church elder who’ll please everyone.

He preaches exactly twenty minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never steps on anybody’s toes.

He works from eight in the morning to ten at night, doing everything from preaching sermons to sweeping.

He makes $400 per week, gives $100 a week to the church, drives a late-model car, buys lots of books, wears fine clothes, and has a nice family.

He always stands ready to contribute to every good cause, too, and to help panhandlers who drop by the church on their way to somewhere.

He is thirty-six years old, and has been preaching for forty years.

He is tall, on the short side; heavyset, in a thin sort of way; and handsome.

He has eyes of blue or brown (to fit the occasion),

 and wears his hair parted in the middle – left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy.

He has a burning desire to work with the youth, and spends all his time with the senior citizens.

He smiles all the time while keeping a straight face, because he has a keen sense of humor that finds him seriously dedicated.

He makes fifteen calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing nonmembers, and is always found in his study if he is needed.

Unfortunately he burnt himself out and died at the age of thirty-two.

Pastor Dreier and all church leaders are highly susceptible to stress. All their work has eternal consequences, and that can be a heavy burden. They are also highly visible. They and their families live in a fishbowl, subject to comments and criticisms from everyone who sees them. Where can Pastor Dreier find help to combat all of these difficulties? The answer is prayer. It has the power to overcome any problem or obstacle. Jesus demonstrated this time after time. His prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane just before His death especially emphasized the power of prayer.

He said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will done for you by my Father in heaven. (Matt. 18:19)

I urge you to agree with me to pray for Pastor Dreier as the spiritual leader of The Lutheran Church of Our Savior.

In His Service, Len

Thank you Len – for that wonderful reminder.

Love the leaders God has called to lead you. Show your love by praying for them.

Thoughts on Beauty

I saw a twitter post from an acquaintance of mine a while back. He’d posted a picture of his grand daughter making a face. Underneath the picture was the caption – “You can’t hide beauty.”

For some stupid reason that picture and that caption made me cry. I felt like such an idiot and was really glad to be home alone. I mean how in the world could I have explained that to my family?

At first I thought it was because I missed my grandfather and seeing that post brought back those memories. But then the gals in my Sunday School class started asking if we could study “Captivating” by Staci Eldredge next. I bought a copy of the book and started to read.

I found this quote on Eve from chapter two. –

What is Eve telling us about God?

“First, you’ll discover that God is relational to his core, that he has a heart for romance. Second, that he longs to share adventures with us – adventures you cannot accomplish without him. And finally, that God has a beauty to unveil. A beauty that is captivating and powerfully redemptive.”

God has beauty to unveil – and we keep trying to hide it.

I think I know I why I cried.


Authenticity Begins with Christ

“How do you live an authentic life without being so transparent that your story speaks louder than God’s?”

I love the fact that part of our little mission team, full of passion, joy and praise for God – asked that question on Sunday night. I love this question because it has given me something to chew on. Something to take back to God, ask about, reflect on, and dig up. It’s given me a chance to learn something new. It’s a question with depth, and meaning. It’s a question I cannot presently answer in a three point post which means that God wants to teach me something. This blog post is, in a great sense, my discovery journal. I will be sharing the points that answer this question as we find them over the next few weeks –

I’ve asked this question on twitter and facebook and have gotten some excellent replies. Some people think it’s a great question and are pondering it themselves now. Others are asking if it’s possible to allow our story to speak louder than God’s. After all, God is God and we are not.

There is truth in that – God’s story is, was, and always will be bigger than ours – as it should be. Our point in asking this question though is more about how well do we (as humans and as his servants) tell God’s story not just on stage, or behind a podium, but in our lives. We want to be authentic, we want to be transparent and we want to be wise in both.

Why is this question important to me? It is important because I haven’t always been the most authentic or transparent person in my life. I used to take privacy to unhealthy levels and hid behind a heart full of fear and hurt. I’ve shared stories over the years about the lengths I’m capable of going to in order to protect and hide my heart. I can even laugh about them today. I’ve also had times where that pendulum swings the other way where I’m overly transparent, telling people far more about my life than they really wanted to know or worse – more than they could emotionally digest. I’m thankful to God, and my friends on this journey who walk with me, and love me through those stages of life. These people help me to define my communities and appropriate boundaries, but most importantly they keep me focused on Christ.

The path to authenticity for me, starts with believing and not just hoping. I am learning that a heart that loves God first and foremost and knows his forgiveness is a step in the right direction. Taking it from my heads to my heart isn’t always easy. Those 12 inches from my brains to my hearts can seem like miles. It took God a long time to help me go from “I hope” to “I know.”

– “Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief.” is a powerful prayer.

Living an authentic life has to start with Christ. I have to be real and authentic with Him before I can ever be that with anyone else.

Until tomorrow.