Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Newsletter

Here at the end of the year, here's a little "catching you up" on our 2009. We are grateful for each of you and continue to be so incredibly grateful for the investment you make in our lives and our ministry. Continue to pray for us, that God would guide our steps to go right in the center of His will!

Jeff - This has been an incredible year for Jeff as Lead Pastor at LifeSong Church. God has used him to be a part of seeing lives changed, our community impacted and a look into the future of where LifeSong needs to focus. He has been a part of a coaching network of six other pastors that meet once a month under the mentoring of two other pastors. This has been an incredibly encouraging time for him, as well as a challenge to always become a better leader.
Of course, with football season ending soon with college bowl games and Super Bowls, I always worry he might go into a depression, but he has thoroughly enjoyed his favorite hobby these last few months.
He and I have just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on the 17th of this month.
I am so thankful for the man of God that Jeff is and continues to become. He leads our family well and loves me completely. There's no greater gift than to be Jeff's wife!

Amy - I feel more and more like I live in the car everyday. With a span of ages of almost 12 down to almost 3 years old, I feel like my brain is living in two different worlds most of the time. I'm carting kids to and from school, watching a whole LOT of Dora and Diego, and trying to stay consistent in my responsibilities everyday. I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I'm convinced it's the #1 way that God challenges me, humbles me, and grows me as a person by continuing to have me be home with my girls!
Aside from full time Mommy, I began a hobby/job as a Southern Living at Home consultant. I have really enjoyed the party aspect of things...meeting people from all walks of life. I probably enjoy the "booking parties" part the least, but it has been something that I've been able to make my own and still have it provide a little extra income for our family.
I continue to believe firmly that God has given me a specific ministry to the lives of women. It feels slow going at times, but I'm so very thankful for how God uses this ministry in my life to not only impact the lives of women, but to grow me as well. We begin our new Community Ladies' Bible study in January, and I'm always anxious be a part of having a front row seat to women growing in their love relationship with their Father!

McKenna - We have an almost 12 year old come April! Crazy!! We have continually seen McKenna on her own path with that she hears Him speak to her about and that she obeys to follow. She is passionate about her role as AWANA secretary in our LifeSong Kidz area of ministry. She prepares during the week, adds special touches and wakes up early every Sunday morning to go to church with her Dad so that she can serve her ministry well! To say we are proud of her is an understatement.
She is doing so well in school. 6th grade has proved to be HER year. She has a ton of friends and next month we will go attend her induction into the National Beta Club! Her Mama "might" have cried over the invitation! (wink, wink).
She plans to play soccer in the spring/summer and will start sewing lessons next month, but whatever Kenna does, we know she will put her whole heart into it!

Bailey -Bailey will turn 10 on the 27th. 4th grade has been a very busy year for Bailey! She has an incredible amount of homework everyday, but she has done so well in all of her subjects, and her first 9 weeks saw her name on the Honor Roll. She is on the Pride Patrol team for the month of December, so she gets to school early to help kids to their classrooms and the running and talking in the hallways to a minimum! ;) She has been taking private art classes this year and we are AMAZED at her talent. She is doing so well. We've also seen her put her love for music and theater to practice. She is in chorus at school and was chosen for Honors Chorus for our school district, had a part in LifeSongs Mortality Room at Halloween, and can constantly be heard singing and seen being a DRAMA QUEEN a lot ! ;)

Avery - Avery is doing incredibly well in school this year, too. She is 8yrs old and in 2nd grade. She has made straight As the first nine weeks and we've seen her develop a real love for reading this year. She might not LOVE homework and comes up with every excuse in the book not to do it, but nonetheless, she is finding she loves Math more than anything, and is in love with Magic Tree House books! She loves playing with her friend, Andrew, everyday after school. They've been working diligently on building a fort everyday in our backyard.
Avery just lives life to the fullest and on "full steam ahead!!"

Quinn - Quinn has probably changed the most. She talks 90 miles a minute and doesn't hesitate to tell you what she REALLY thinks! She is obsessed with Dora and Diego right now, loves to read books and anytime she can be outside she loves swing HIGHER!! She will turn 3 in February, and she has zero interest in the potty, yet she can tell you everyone's schedule and probably even cook a meal if she set her mind to it. She's our baby, though, so we may have let a lot slide with her. She is a joy to us and a constant source of laughter! She calls us "Mom" and "Dad," loves her sisters with her WHOLE heart, has a boyfriend named Aiden (of whom she is VERY possessive), and loves anything to do with music.

We pray God's very best for you this year! May 2010 be a year of great promise, love and laughter! We love you!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa is a Nice Man

Quinn had her first Santa picture this year. My other girls never would because apparently Santa is the equivalent of Jason from horror movies, so we don't have a picture of them that would not have shown looks of sheer terror!

This little cutie, however, says "Santa is a Nice Man," and we can see why (look in her hands)...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Then and Now

...and the Love story goes on and on!
Happy Anniversary to my best friend and love of my life, Jeffery!
You are one in a million, a gift to everyone that really knows you, but to me you are the man that I fall in love with over and over each and everyday!
Thank you for being the real deal! I'm a better person because you believe in me and love me.
Looking forward to continuing our journey.
I love you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scenes from Christmas...So far

View from my Christmas Window

Trip to Roper Mountain Holiday Lights

A Sleigh full of NICE (as opposed to naughty) girls!

A Little Christmas Crafting

4th Grade Chorus - Elf Impersonator

Bill Drake Christmas Program - District 5 Honors Chorus
(Bailey is on the very back row)

A Christmas Fair w/ my sis.
(I represented So. Living at Home and she sold things from her home business, "Priss Pots"

A little Christmas "goofing off"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I ♥ Ministry

One of the most common things I've heard over our time in ministry - which for the record, for me, has been my WHOLE life - is how much we must love ministry. Most times this comes out of the notion of another that when God calls one to ministry, there must be angels singing and a lot of running through the wide open meadows singing and dancing as we go! It's a lot of "everyone must love you, want to spend time with you and living in a 'happy place' all the time." I don't mean to make a mockery of it...really, I don't. It's just that I sometimes like to use my blog for others in ministry, building a network of encouragement for others living the life of a pastor's wife, or any aspect of ministry. And goodness knows, we people in ministry sure like to "ponder these things" this time of year.
Pondering is my love language...well, OK, sometimes is my hate language, when it decides to take me to an unhappy place of false assumptions, "I'm a failure," no one likes, me, everybody hates me, think I'll eat some worms kinda place. That's another blog (and probably a therapy session, too!).

As I ponder a lot of things at the end of this year, one of which is what I have learned, and continue to learn, from a calling to ministry:

1) We are ALL called! Wow! That took a lot of pressure off me, didn't it? None of that blog post about just me being in ministry. We get to run through the meadows together! Seriously, it's my favorite thing to ponder this year. At LifeSong, we hear ALL the time how we are to be "missionaries where we live, work and play." I LOVE that. This year, this has become more and more real to me. One day, I'll write about just how it has. It's really just been over the last three months. I love the freedom of knowing that finally the day came that something I really knew in my heart most of my life, is now REAL for me. My friend, Misty, said it best to us when we started LifeSong. She said, "Everyday, I put my church clothes on because we are ALL the church everywhere we go." She and her family really live what they say, too.

2) Ministry is not about me. This is something I struggle with a lot. It's the kind of pondering that takes me to the false assumption place. God did not call my family to be served, but to serve. He didn't call us to be taken care of, but to take care of (the orphans and widows). Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling alone, unwanted, not taken care of, but the truth is, that's just where Satan would want us to be. He wants to keep us discouraged so that we stay offended when no one speaks to us, think we are not loved/included, feel burnt out from trying to please everyone, or he will lie to us that no one is really following our leadership, or have us believe that we are fractured as a leadership. The list really can go on and on. Where he finds a place to attack, he will. Just when I think I've endured all the attack I will ever have to endure, well, in walks in a thorn. I love the fact that we GET to serve others. When I am serving by having new people in our church into our home, my heart is full. When I am asked to pray for another, my heart is full. When I see a woman grow in her relationship with God because she attends a Bible study, a weekend retreat, reads a blog, shares her faith with another, my heart is full. When I witness the Holy Spirit falling down on one of our corporate worship times, my heart is so full.

3) Ministry is hard. I read this today. It's specifically about church planting being hard. It really summarizes anything I have to say about ministry being hard. There is always the possibility of failing...failing when WE get in the way. We make it hard, more times than not. Point #2 really talks about this, too, but the aspect of church planting is not for the weary of heart.

4) Ministry is about relationship. I love the friendships I've made over our 14 years in ministry. From the relationships we made in seminary, to each place God has called us to serve, the relationships he gives us are priceless. Some are given to us for a short while, some to invest in, some invest in US, and some give us accountability. I love knowing that there is always someone in my life that God has given to me to spur me on to a better me. I'm thankful for those that love me for me, and do not breathe false assumptions about who they think I am over me, but they have taken the time to understand me and love me, challenge me and pray for me.
We say sometimes that we are lonely in ministry, and yes, that is true, but not from lack of relationships in our life.
Another filling of my heart is knowing that others walk hand in hand with me.

5) Ministry is about investing. Jeff and I are always grateful for those special ones that God gives us more opportunity to invest in their lives. We wish we could invest in everyone in a one on one basis, but I'd clearly need another brain to manage that. Rather, we've had the honor to disciple some in their faith, be a part of God calling them to a specific life of ministry, traveling on mission trips outside of our community, and to daily be a part of leading a church to invest in lives around them. Really, what more could we ask for. I am personally grateful for the lives of women in which I get to invest. Seeing them changed is amazing to me!

These are just a few things that God has specifically spoken to me about over the past year. I am constantly on a path to understanding the calling God has on my life, and being called to be a Pastor's wife is something that I will learn more about for the rest of my life. For me, being married to Jeff, the man, not the pastor, is the greatest gift of my life. The fact that God has chosen him to shepherd people is a bonus. Jeff teaches me everyday that ministry is always about others, and to never waiver from the mission that no one ever die without the life-changing message of Christ. We are called to live that our with a fervor and a passion. We are called, all of us, to make sure that we love THAT ministry above all others!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chance #2 to win!!!

Here's a second chance I came across to win the HP, so I'm blogging about it AGAIN! Hey, friends, whatever it takes! You know, I've done some thinking since that last post a few minutes ago...I would even consider giving my computer here at home to someone that needs it if I won. I think being a missionary kid makes me not be able to win things and feel good about it. I have to pay it forward, and pay it forward I would! So, check out the contest at Kelly's Korner, too, and I really hope that someone I know wins. I love a good celebration!

What does HP stand for?

Why, it stands for the best computer ever, and you can win one here. I have to share this, cause that's just the kind of person I am! Not really! I'm posting it here, on MY blog, so that I can get another entry to win it for myself! I suppose, with it being the Christmas season and all, that I hope you win and I will be happy for you. I will. Really, I will! So, check out the details and get busy entering! 'Tis the season to be Jolly, aka., trying to win every giveaway on the block! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

We Love our Ministry Family

This past Tuesday Jeff and I hosted our annual Ministry Family Dinner Party. Truly...and you may deem me corny for this...but it's my biggest JOY at Christmas time. I plan months ahead for this day. I generally know my menu for the evening in October, and my table setting is something I dream about all year long. I love the little touches that make them feel special. I pray that the food goes off without a hitch. (I way underestimated one year at a previous church and it was a total embarrassment that haunts me to this day!). So, this year, despite the fact that we are way overly busy people, we finally managed to coordinate our schedules. I never sent out a formal invite because of the back and forth planning, and that will haunt me, I'm sure (cause I'm anal like that!), but the night couldn't have been more special! And lest you think we were civilized about it because it's called a "Dinner Party," take a look at our pictures and you'll discover that we only get together to laugh and be ourselves, and some of us found ourselves to be a little silly this particular night! We are very grateful for our Ministry Family. We are definitely all unique and bring our own gifts to the table, and that table might look a little whacky, a little shy, have leaders, have followers...but, we all love each other and realize when we spend time together like we did, that it's way to0 infrequent, but way FUN when we have it!

Our Tree

Brian and Barbie George
He's our Pastor of Administration

Allan and Debbie Smith
He's our Pastor of Families

Tim and Lynn Lyda
He's our Pastor of Discipleship

Jeff and Amy (It's US! ;) )
Jeff is Lead Pastor

Larry Lawson -this is where it got less civilized :)
He's our Worship Pastor (I'm sure you figured that out, though)

Larry had our friends, Matt and Heather come bearing gifts as
Santa and Mrs. Claus! So much fun, y'all!


The Pastor's Wives
My picture of all of the Pastors did not take, so just imagine them looking very "Teamly" together!

Merry Christmas, everyone! We are so very blessed to serve at LifeSong with a great team of Pastors
and their wives!