Happy birthday James!! We love you so much!!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
But first let's back up to a little over a year ago. Our children's director, Amy, went to the Orange Conference last year, and before any of us knew any better she caught the bug that is orange. (She invited me to go at that time, but for some reason I wasn't available) Around that time we started the "First Look" ministry for pre-schoolers, and the "252 Basics" ministry for Elementary School aged children at church. At the time, Amy was doing the "main event" worship service for both of these ministries (along with all the other aspects of her job), and she was stretched to say the least. It occurred to me that she needed help, but I didn't know how to help her. I decided to pray about what I could do to help out, and get back to her. Shortly after that our Education Pastor, Tensley, gave me a call and asked me if I would be interested in doing the worship time for our pre-schoolers. Talk about God answering a prayer request specifically! I'm not even sure I got the job description before saying "yes"!
Fast forward to now.... I've been doing the pre-school worship time for about a year, and I love it! In case your interested, "First Look" worship time consists of reviewing the story (in a fun way), learning our monthly bible verse (using fun hand signs), singing songs (complete with dance moves), and either playing a game or doing a craft. And during that time we use all of those things to focus on three truths....God made me, God loves me, and Jesus wants to be my friend forever. (In case you're not interested, just forget you read it!)
Well, since I'm involved in the pre-school ministry, I got an invitation to join Amy this year at the Orange Conference. If Orange was a virus, then I caught it! And just like that, I was hooked on all things Orange (just to be clear....I am still very much a Univ of South Carolina fan, and I'm NOT changing to Clemson just because of my new love for orange). Now, what IS Orange??
Orange is what happens when you mix red and yellow. LOL.
No, really.....it is.
Yellow represents the church. And because I can't say it better than the author, Reggie Joiner, here is a quote from the book:
" The church exists to shine a light in the darkness, a light that highlights God's goodness and reveals God's son, in order that the world can understand and know Him." (p.30, Think Orange)
Now ALL of this post is VERY simplified to make this explanation shorter, but the book Think Orange is FULL of amazing tidbits, and the section on the church and how it is the lamp stand (where the yellow comes from) that should show others Christ is absolutely no exception. Just to be clear, my very simple explanation here cannot possibly cover everything the book does. My advice? Read the book! It will answer your questions way better than I can!! But for the sake of my simple explanation the church is the lamp stand and therefor represented by the color yellow.
Red represents the family. Why? Because when we talk about love and caring, we normally think red (for the heart). Now, families by design are not perfect. Writing that makes me feel like I've just dropped a bomb....like you're looking at those words saying...what do you mean families aren't perfect? Isn't your family perfect? You're saying YOUR family has problems? And truthfully, openly...I am saying just that. That we are not perfect. That we do things wrong. That we get frustrated with each other. BUT regardless of not being perfect (because...news flash...no one is) we love each other and we are a family. And because we're not perfect God uses us to display His love and grace. Another quote from Reggie:
"God is at work telling a story of restoration and redemption through your family. Never buy into the myth that you need to become the 'right' kind of parent before God can use you in your children's lives. Instead, learn to cooperate with whatever God desires to do in your heart today so your children will have a front-row seat to the grace and goodness of God." (p. 48, Think Orange)
Let me ask you a question.... How would God display His goodness and grace through a perfect person? He can't. (Except of course for Jesus). God uses imperfect people to show you and others that it's really Him working and it's not of ourselves. (Look up Ephesians 2:8-9). I am not perfect, and if anyone knows it.....for sure my kids and my husband do. But God (because He's totally amazing like this) takes what's imperfect about me (loves me regardless) and uses my imperfections to show His love and grace. I wish I could supply you with a great example here, and maybe after I think about it a couple days I'll come up with something :oP HE is using us! Imperfect people to tell His story of love and redemption! Isn't that just amazing?!?
Think Orange....I dare you....think it....
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I still find myself amazed that I am captivated by a family and a baby that I know only through a blog. That I pray for and ask others I know to pray for this baby who I know through only pictures and posts. That I talk about MckMama like I know her....so much so that people ask me how I know her and I have to confess that, "it's just a blog I read, I don't actually know her." Now I gotta say that I am not totally obsessed (at least I don't think so), but I am awed by the story God is writing using her life and the life of her little boy.
Actually I think I feel a "God story" post coming soon.....
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
James is about to be turning 4 on May 26. We're talking about birthday party plans, and the birthday "theme" seems to change everyday! One day he wants a Madagascar (jungle) party, the next day he wants another Cars party, and then he'll want something else all together! There are a lot of people we know with birthdays in May, and he keeps asking when it's his turn. I keep giving him the same answer, "soon". He has also become obsessed with when our community pool is opening. He asks every time we leave the neighborhood if it's open and can we swim now? I keep telling him the same answer as above, "soon". :o)
Samantha is 20 months old now. She has such an opinion of her own! James is coming out of "terrible threes" and I think she's entering "terrible twos".....well, as long as one is off while the others on, I guess we'll be ok! She is saying quite a bit and I think more than James did at this age. She tries attempting lots of words, and sometimes it really sounds like she's trying to communicate whole stories and just can't get out the words right! She is a total Daddy's girl through and through. She wants to be the first one to hug him when he comes through the door, and she tries her best to get his attention throughout the day. Of course he loves it! He's so wrapped around her little chubby finger! I feel that disciplining her is going to be hard for him.
Both of our kids amaze us with their personality differences, and especially how their personalities are so evident from birth! James has always been a people person. As a baby he went to anyone that would hold him, as a toddler he would smile and wave at anyone, and as a growing little boy he can make friends with ANYONE in seconds flat. He's not at all shy to just walk up to a kid and say, "You want to play with me?" He does not at all discriminate (don't we wish adults were this way?) when finding a friend to play with, and I kid you not EVERY TIME we leave anywhere he'll say, "I made a new friend today"...and he really did. However, Samantha is slightly reserved. She wants to check you out before she befriends you, and she's extremely loyal once she falls for you. She knows exactly what she wants and she's not going to give up until she gets it. Of course she can't always have everything she wants, so sometimes we get a good fit every now and then. She pretty much has a good fuss until she notices your not paying attention or giving in, and then she'll run off to find James and see what he's doing. She loves her brother too, and she follows him everywhere. I often joke that if you're looking for Samantha, just go find James....she won't be far behind.
Andy just recently had his 29th birthday. We didn't do anything special (He didn't really want to celebrate...I guess we're saving up for the big 3-0!!). But we were able to get him a grill with the birthday money we got. He made steaks tonight (a birthday gift from a choir member), and I made baked potatoes. It was so nice to split up the cooking and only have half the responsibility. He's excited about cooking, and I'm excited he wants to cook! Ha!
Me? I'm just preparing myself for James going to pre-school this fall (yes, I think it will take this much preparation), and trying to learn new hobbies. I started sewing and I'm about to finish my first little dress for Samantha. I'd also like to some how do something with photography or perhaps something artsy...I really want to do something creative like that. I love looking at other's photographs and I'd really like to be able to do that myself! I'm also pretty excited about just Samantha and I spending time together when James goes to school. I rarely (if ever) have her all by herself, and I think it will be fun for it just to be mother and daughter 4 days a week. Also, while I am nervous about pre-school, I know it's going to be good for James and I know he's ready. It will be very different (more for me) since he's spent the last 4 years of his days home with me, but he's excited and now when we drive past where he's going to be going to school he says, "Is it time for me to go to school yet?" (Poor kid....you know my answer....he's always waiting on something!)
This is the bulk of what I'm getting from James right now...