Bucket Lists, Strange Movie, Finishing What I Started-Random Reflections

lists

This post has been three days in the making! No joke.  I have had this post open and slowly coming up with what to write about. But as we have been talking about things this week we have been talking about a few things over and over and over again.  This  post has been born out of our conversations,.  Conversations about a certain bucket list we have.   We aren’t normal in the terms of bucket lists.  Yes we have places we would love to go  and see and do BUT we have some odd lists. And this week, the conversation has centered around one in particular.  Then this morning I was telling hubby about this strange movie that I listened to.  It was weird. And lastly there is the topic as this week has been a week of finishing things I started last year.  I will go into this a smidge more in another blog post coming this evening.   LET”S JUMP IN!

Bucket Lists.

So yeah I guess you could say we have bucket lists.  Like we would love to continue the Trend  we  started on our honeymoon of visiting presidents homes.  Since we have been married  we have visited  something like 11 or 12 presidents homes.  We have visited the Eisenhower’s estate in Gettysburg. Montpelier, (Madison’t home) Ash Lawn (Monroe’s Home). Mount Vernon ( Washington’s home), Monticello (Jefferson’s home) James Buchanans home.  The home of both Harrison’s, Home of Woodrow Wilson, Abe Lincoln’s Birth home, Andrew Jackson’s home in Nashville and I am sure I have missed some or two !   Not all of those were done on our honeymoon. Lincolns and Jackson’s were done with very small kids on our family vacation in 2009 to Franklin and Nashville Tennessee and Kentucky.

Another odd little bucket list is battlefields centered around the civil war..  We have been to Gettysburg , Antietam, Appomattox Courthouse and the Canton House in Franklin TN.  (out of those Canton house is the CREEPIEST). Even though there aren’t any others on this list to speak o (That we went to see)f we wouldn’t necessarily turn down the opportunity either.  (There is this ongoing threat that the hubby and the oldest man child are going to take me back to Gettysburg to read EVERY. SINGLE. MONUMENT. -if you have been to Gettysburg, you know how serious this could be, we may never make it home again!)

But the bucket list we have been discussing all week is concerts.  After being to our second Newsboys concert in two years and a Mercy Me concert in October,  we are discussing what’s next.    There is one man child who wants to see Mandisa (I’m with him). And there is one Man child who wants to see Toby Mac ( I’m with him). and there is a hubby who wants to see Casting Crowns (I’m with him). HMMMM I think I can’t loose!   I would then add Francesca Battisstelli., Chris Tomlin, Matthew West and Brandon Heath and Jamie Grace.   I’ve been scratching concerts off my list for a LONG time, so these  would. be icing on the cake. (oh and since I just got to see the  Old Sschool  Newsboys- I can now hold out hope for a DC Talk reunion concert ..hint hint hint!!)

Strange Movie

So often times while I am working on house work I will have a movie playing in the background.  Yesterday I pulled up  PUREFLIX and scrolled through some movies.  and I landed on a newly added movie called  THE LIST.   There are actually two movies called this and I had already listened to the other one.   This particular one starts out in colonial times (Remined me a lot of the NATIONAL TREASURE movies. ).   It has Christian themes and  gets really weird.  Basically a young man gets caught up in a secret society/ cult.  And there is spiritual warfare BUT they aren’t really forthcoming with info needed to explain what exactly is going on.  The focus was on Prayer and breaking free from the grip, but from what?  It was just an odd movie, and if you didn’t know what was really being said  ( as in an unbeliever or a baby Chirstian). you would be severely confused!

Finishing What I Started.

In the next blog post (Five Minute Friday ). I will be talking about the one word prompt for today : STUCK.  And that is exactly how I was feeling from November  of 2017 til March of 2018. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, I felt like I was dragging a 250 pound weight behind me.  And yes I was completely immersed in play season for two of those months but generally I can still manage life along with the Christmas play for church.  Well just over the last couple of weeks I feel like I have finally had my head come up above the water.  And in the last few weeks I have completed some things I started last year.  Like my One Thousand Gifts Study, The Hebrews Study I had been working though and I finished the Lies Young Women Believe study.  And I am really on track for finishing this years first Study of Esther and completing the study portions of Hello Mornings (my review book from the beginning of the year).

I also want to finish up the women’s leadership video  series that I started last year on Right Now Media.

When these things are all caught up I will begin tackling my rating list for 2018.  Let’s be honest I know it’s not all going to happen AND THAT’S OK.  The point is to grow, not perfection.  But it was really important to me that I finish these things.  I want to be a woman who is known for finishing well.  Finishing well isn’t a time frame either.  It’s not gauged by years but by doing your best with what you have .   This is all part of the reason why I evaluate my goals so often because sometimes goals need to be taken off the list.  It’s just not what can happen in this moment of time.

Well That’s about it for this week!  I hope you  have  have a wonderful weekend.  What are some of your Random Reflections from this week?  Share them in the comments below!

April (Snow) Showers, Leave of Absence, Let. It. Go.- Random Reflections 4-17-2018

Random

April (Snow)  Showers

So while scrolling through Facebook the other day I came across this meme and since there is snow falling today I thought it might be fitting to share:

“April Showers bring snow plowers”.

There was a huge snow plow plowing through feet of snow.    though there are no feet of snow, or inches of snow, I did go to bed to the sound of a snowplow last night salting the roads. and this is what I woke up to this morning….

those little white specks in the air are you guessed it snow.  And we have had quite the heavy snow showers this morning. now it’s not sure if it wants to be snow or rain.  It’s been doing both. I struggle with the cold and gray of New York.  As a girl from Pennsylvania. I am not used to winters like this even  after living here for nearly 17 years.

Leave of Absence

This last week I took a leave of absence from the pregnancy center.  I love it and my clients, but for the time being I need to  deal with smoother things. Somethings good, somethings hard, somethings just a must. I will miss everyone and hope to be back very very very soon.

Let. It. Go.

Our ladies Bible study will be gearing up for it’s next study.  We picked the book a few weeks ago Let. It. Go. by Karen Ehman.  I have already read the book but I think it is time for a revisit.    The subtitle is How to Stop running the show and start walking in Faith.  All I can say is DID YA READ MY LAST BLOG POST?

I’m looking forward to diving into this study soon..

I know that’s not very much but it is what it is.  I hope you have a spectacular day and if you live where it is warm and sunny go out and enjoy some vitamin D for me

 

Life is a Journey

journey

I would like to sit here and think that today begins a new journey but in  reality it’s not new.  Life is the journey.  Yes at times we come to a fork in the road and we need to decide which path to take.  It is the very reason why I chose the theme for my blog to be walking by faith.  Journey is in the subheading.  and as I alluded to in yesterday’sblog post that there were somethings up my sleeve.  I have been thinking and praying and planning for the last few months and I have really needed to wrestle through some stuff. Things like :

Fear

Control

Lack of confidence ( this one strikes me as funny because  that was my word for last year.  ,

Once upon a time….Journey back in time

I struggled with intense fear.  Fear that left me curled up in the corner of my bedroom sobbing.  I had come home to no power and I feared what lurked in the darkness. The unseen,  You know what was there?  Furniture Thats it. .  I was as quiet as a mouse all of the time.  When we moved into a different apartment  a year and a half later I was pregnant with our first son and I quickly learned that the guy downstairs was on the creepy list.  When our oldest was born hubby and I praised God that he was too young to ask questions about what was going on downstairs, on many levels. I was still scared but now I could no longer  be as quiet as a mouse, because I had this youngling…and what do younglings do?  They Cry.  Sometimes a lot. But in my heart my thought was what  if that creepy guy comes up stairs……?  Then one day!  He did.  I was standing at the sink tasing dishes and this insane pounding came . I froze.  He yelled Get out, the Apartment is on fire.  Wait what?   IS this for real?  Sure enough  I picked up our newborn son and scrambled down the stairs.  It was filled with smoke, firetrucks everywhere.

Fast forward….the journey between then and Now

As I look back over the nearly 13 years since that day. I see an on again off again relationship with fear.  What was once an absolutely gripping fear of being alone…as in no one in the same house. I could be alone, actually I really liked being in solitude, just not in the sense of being left alone….and in the ONLY ONE, morphed into a different kind of fear.  Fear of people.  Nope not kidding one single bit.  I was afraid that I was going to get hurt.  There was a time on my life as a young mom where I was convinced that it was my job to be hurt…by people.  It was during that time that I had no friends.  I was home all the time alone and arrows flew at me from every direction..  Now This did not just happen once or twice.  there is a lesson in this for me.  I knew there was but I was DENSE (still am).  So I had to keep learning it over and over and over again.

Right now….on the journey

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Thankfulness Challenge- My Pastor Husband Pastor’s Appreciation Motnth

husband

The  missed oppertunity

I have been re-reading some past blog posts, and do you know what I realized?  I don’t blog very much about my husband!!  That’s mostly because I respect his desire to not be put into the spotlight  and it’s not that I am choosing to disrespect his wishes today BUT there are some days that you have to give credit where credit is due.

I was doing some prep work for a blog post for later today and I was overcome by the amazingness of my husband.  The things not everyone gets to see . The things this man does and I get to support him in. The things I am sometimes  guilty of taking for granted.

His Many Hats

He wears many hats and God has gifted him the ability to do them well.  He and I have been married for almost 15 years.  We have 4 kids ages 12,11,alomst 10, and 7.  One has Autism and another has a learning disability known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  This is a huge part of his life but the other huge part is his calling to be pastor.   We have been at our current church for almost 9 years.  I have watched him spend countless hours ministering to people in some very unconventional ways.  He has the unique ability to meet people where they are, work side by side with them and create a relationship with them.  My husband is so dedicated to his call that he is constantly seeking to grow in it,  to learn and grow deeper his relationship with Christ.  I have watched him pour countless hours into people, to shed tears on their behalf and still treat them with the love of Jesus when he is hurt by them.    He is a real leader who can lead without an iron fist or micromanage the people he is leading.  He also takes time to to fix broken things at church. He runs errands for church.  he runs errands for home and as I looked at the calendar page for October I noticed there were things missing from his weekly activities

  • Phone call
  • emails
  • texts
  • visits
  • people in crisis
  • emergencies
  • last minute meetings
  • Prep for sermons
  • prep for 2 Bible studies  a week

And this doesn’t even begin to cover family things like convent care trips and the like.

He as a person

Though he will tell you otherwise he is intelligent and skilled in communicating the word of God.  I have watched him painstakingly pour over God’s word sometimes changing his sermon multiple times to be sure to bring God’s truth, even if it stings deep within his own soul.  and with that goes transparency of his heart sharing both from the pulpit and in private his struggles.  He does not view himself as higher or better than another.  He has strove to continue to grow in his education, that enables him to sharpen and fine tune his skills.

One of the greatest things about this man that I count as a blessing from God is his desire to do whatever it is he has set his hand to, and to do it well.  Many people don’t get a chance to see this, but I count it a privilege to get a front row seat.   To the countless hours counseling in person at our table, on the phone and via text message (yes that really can happen). I get to watch him wear himself thin as he goes from one meeting to the next, ones where he spends hours, days and weeks praying for and pouring over.  I count it a privilege to  Get to be the one who shares in his greatest joys and his deepest sorrows.  I have watched him help others try to pick up shattered pieces of great disappointments.

People are important to Him

He makes time for everyone though that is rarely seen .  It is done  in secret to protect those who are hurting.  He holds so much  between him and God even I do not know all that he has been told.  He drops his plans, and desires to run to the aid of another.  He changes  his work schedule to meet others needs and has done so, most jobs would have fired him.  And this is why  some days our grass is not mowed or the garbage has not been taken to the transfer station.  He views our cars and home as not our own but those things belong to God, things to be used for His service. They are just on loan to us to be used for God’s work.

Care for our family

Most people don’t realize that he is the sole driver of our family.  Something he committed to nearly 16 years ago when he asked me to marry him.  He knew it was highly unlikely that I would never be able to see well enough to drive.  So sermons are prepared as I take care of kids appointments, emails are sent and visits are made in-between  all the craziness.  He is an amazing multi-taskr.  he uses every spare moment he can.

A week  ago I posted this picture of something that is rare.

pastor husband

We had already

  • y picked up kids at 11:45
  • ate lunch
  • took headache medicine to the other child at school
  • gone to two parent teacher conferences
  • worked
  • sermon prep

The poor guy had a migraine.  And had about a half an hour before we had to eat dinner and leave for Awana.  When I posted the picture to social media it was about the cat.  She doesn’t snuggle with just anyone.  She likes him a lotAnd there were very supportive comments on social media.  BUT comments came outside of social media that were not so kind. And that is sad.  For a  man who rarely if ever takes time for himself, who pours so much of himself into others.  Who seeks to build community and build others up.  Who gives everything he has and then some. Who bends over backwards for anyone who asks his help.

I am truly sorry I posted it….for the flack he has taken.

So Grateful

  1. So for all of this I want to take the time to thank God for all that he does both the seen and the unseen.  The 80+ hours per week for church the 10-20 hours a week for his other job and the countless hours for our family.  His ministry is so far deeper than most can imagine, even within the community.
  2. I am grateful that he loves us and takes care of us.  Enough to step up and provide in different ways.  that he makes sure we always have working vehicles. that he makes sure that we are cared for.
  3. I am thankful that I get to watch.  I get a front row seat to his ministry, our ministry together.This also means that sometimes the seats up close see the messy things too.  Those moments when people are so wrapped up in themselves to see what is really going on.   Im so grateful he includes me.  so many pastors and wives live two separate lives. I saw it while we were in seminary. Couples who did their own things, separately.  When I am leading Bible study, he is watching the ladies kids.  He helps  with the RGT conference.  He has mentored young men alongside me at the Pregnancy center, reaching deep into the messiness of our community.
  4. I am so grateful to get to watch him grow into the man God always knew he would be.   It’s huge blessing to see him step out and try new things to gain boldness.
  5. To watch him give his whole life to Jesus in service.  That he holds nothing back. To sacrifice.

To My Pastor

In Short during this month dedicated to showing appreciation to  our pastors.  I want to say a great BIG thank you.

Thank you for being a selfless example of what a godly man should be, not only for our own children but to the kids who know and love you!

Thank you for reaching me every Sunday , and every other day what the Bible teaches.  I love sitting under your teaching and I learn so much.

Thank you  for teaching me how to show love and grace through the good, the bad and the ugly.

AND THANK YOU for asking me to be apart of this journey with you 15 years ago.  Thank you for seeing me as God does, as a women with potential NOT just as I am a broken imperfect person.

I will gladly serve with you another 15 years and until God sees fit to call us  Home!

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Write 31-Day 1 – Why Confidence?

ConfidenceI know I know, it’s day 2 and I am already behind.  That’s because I have been wrestling with….you guessed it a lack of confidence.  It has been something that I have wrestled with since I was very young.  And I must confess right here and right now that some of this has to do with my personality and then some of that REALLY has to do with circumstances that have happened as well.

And that leads me to tonight’s topic, WHY CONFIDENCE?

Well last year at this time I was beginning to really contemplate my word for the following year.  But life was about to get CRAZY!  We went from a household of 6 to a household of ten.  The circumstances of that change is not something to be discussed on the internet, but it was something both hubby and I felt very strongly that hubby and I were called to do.  And to this day we will stand by that decision and we are glad we did!  But in all of this I came to become glaringly aware that I doubted almost all that I did.  But as I prayed about this new found fear that gripped my life I began to pray….HARD! And you know what I realized?  It has ALWAYS been there.

Fear of doing the wrong things ruled my life.

Fear of making people angry.

Fear of disappointing people.

Fear of failure.

Fear of Failure to make the wrong choice.

Fear of ruining someone else’s life.

FEAR ran my life.

Fear is the antithesis of confidence.  Fear gives control to someone else. HMMMM.

I cannot pin down the moment that confidence became my word in January of this year but I knew it two or three weeks into January when the lightbulb finally went on.  Then came the study, searching out the verse that would become my verse for the year and I landed in the book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

7.  “But blessed is the one who trusts the Lord,

whose confidence is in Him

8.  They will be like a tree  planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

WOW WOW WOW

Did you catch all that verse  said?  Well Have no fear, WE ARE GOING TO BREAK IT DOWN!

Because this is so important for ALL of us to understand.

So That is why confidence.  I needed confidence .   But not just confidence in myself either.  I have NOTHING to offer.  Despite all my friends thinking I am the strongest person they know, That is a direct quote people .  I stand back and I look at myself in the mirror and I see this weak, broken person who doubts every  little thing.  I needed a bigger answer.  I needed God-fidence .  It did me absolutely no earthly good to have confidence in me.  I had nothing to offer outside of what Christ has done in me.  I was fearful.

Now the thing is I am still fearful.  I am 9 months into this journey.  I have not arrived and I have to give that fearfulness over to God, and realize He is far bigger than me.

So even though I lack confidence when …

I am fearful, He is  all-knowing and all-powerful

I am weak, He is strong.

I fail, he ALWAYS succeeds.

I am not enough for whoever, He is always enough for everyone AT ALL TIMES!

I am imperfect, He is perfect.

And there is so much more.

I know this word places a high value on self-confidence.  Even the church does.  Because only the self-confident will stand up for themselves.  But I am here to tell you that standing up for yourself, tearing another person down to get your point across and voicing your pet peeves is NOT a biblical principle.( NOTE:: There  is a difference between  fighting for your  ” self imposed rights” versus  your physical safety.  If you find yourself in danger LEAVE!!). Fight for what God says is right not what you think should be right!  That is called entitlement.

Time and again we are told not to fight for ourselves but that God will fight for us.

Bible Knowledge .Com lists out 29 verses that Talks all about relying on God  to fight for us!

May I encourage you to look at the verses tonight and tomorrow.  Then tomorrow we will delve into my verse for the year and we will be discussing what God-fidence REALLY looks like.

And then hopefully later tomorrow I will get caught up with Day 3 and we will look at the differences between self confidence and God-fidence.

Have a GREAT NIGHT

Blessings

Mary