Thursday, September 29, 2011

Corn Dogs and Funky Freezer Girls

Our church has an annual fundraiser for our youth and college ministries. It’s not a car wash or garage sale…it’s not even selling candles or candy bars – nope, we sell corn dogs at the South Plains Fair! I feel as though I should follow-up that sentence with a yeehaw! I’m not sure what comes to your mind when you think of a corn dog booth at a local fair, but let me just tell you that words cannot describe this experience. It is hot and greasy and lines are long (people in Lubbock really like greasy corn dogs), and yet it is also fun in a crazy-I-can’t-believe-I-spent-12-hours-selling-corn-dogs-today kind of way. And yes, I did in fact sell corn dogs for 12 hours yesterday!

One day a year, Josh and I are in charge of the stand and yesterday was that fateful day. In fact, as I sit and type I should tell you that my right index finger is numb from using tongs to pull corndogs from the fryer, and I can still smell the remnants of grease in my hair…oh the things we do to raise money for the kids we love!

I thought you should get a glimpse into my grease-filled 12-hour day of fun!

This is a short line

Kyla painting a corndog - we literally paint mustard on the corndogs.
Mindy Morse showing off her selling skills
Studhubs unloading boxes of weiners...there is no way to make that sound proper.

My goal for this picture was to show you just how many people we cram into a tiny hot can't tell, but most of the night the answer to that question was 6

After surviving my 12-hour shift in the corn dog stand, I must tell you that I am ever grateful for a new venture – Funky Freezer Girls! Like the name? All credit goes to my sister Leslie for putting this group together – after reading about a group on facebook with the same name. It is simple.

My sister asked 6 friends with families similar in size if they would each want to make 2 meals 8 times and then freeze them. It’s a version of batch-cooking…only it’s not. We realized that if we each just made a large amount of 2 meals we would save a lot of time & then we could share with one another!

For example, I made 8 servings of Chicken Enchiladas & Barbeque Chicken Pizzas!  Here is a glimpse into my day of cooking

Notice that I did have a little fact, in order to keep Selah occupied while I made this large quantity of food - I told her that she could cook too & I let her get out anything she needed for this endeavor...

So, this is what my kitchen looked like at the end of our afternoon of cooking - oh my!

But, I decided it was all worth it because after cooking, my freezer looks like this!

And on days like today when my finger is numb and recovering from greas-infested hair, it sure is nice to pull out the lasagna made my Kacey & know my family will have a yummy dinner!
What I especially love is that we each made an extra helping of our meals and are giving them to Maggie (Abby’s sister) who can use the extra help right now as her sweet baby girl has been in and out of the hospital a lot this year. Speaking of – you should go check out Brynne Smiles!  And perhaps you should start your own Funky Freezer Girls!

Friday, September 23, 2011

When Minstry and Mommyhood Collide – Part 2

In my previous blog, I described that fateful Thursday night when ministry and mommyhood collided and a choice had to be made…I of course chose to be a mommy, but as I was at home nursing my sick baby I had a serious conversation with God. It went something like this:

Me: God, when I was pregnant, you promised me that our baby would be able to join the life you’ve called us too.

God: Yes…

Me: And there have been moments of that (like taking her to Europe and learning to schedule groups at our house), but God I’m still struggling with a guilt that seems to be constant. When I’m at work or doing ministry I feel guilty that I’m not with her, and when I’m with Selah I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not taking care of ministry responsibilities that you have entrusted to me. This can’t continue.

God: You are right.

Me: I am?

God: Yep.

Me: I’m right about what? Feeling guilty or needing this to change.

God: The second one.

Me: How do I make this work?

God: You don’t.

Me: Huh?

God: I promised you that Selah would join into the things I’ve called you to do. I promised you that I would give her the gift of flexibility and joy. I promised you that the collision of ministry and mommyhood could actually be a wonderful thing.

Me: Oh…

God: You are the one who started to believe the lies of society that guilt would always be a part of motherhood. You are the one who is thinking this can’t work. You are the one who is frustrated because You are trying to figure this out in your mind or trying to find an example of a family who looks like you. You need to stop.

Me: But…

God: No more buts…you need to trust me. I have designed a rhythm for your family. I’ve designed a rhythm of grace for each family on this earth. I will show you how to parent, what choices to make, and how ministry and mommyhood should look for you. Stop looking to other’s cues and look to me first.

Me: Really? I can do that?

God: You know it’s always best when you look to me first! Sometimes I’ll speak to you through others, but I’ve given you the ability to hear my voice. Don’t limit that voice to Bible reading time or counseling or sermon prep…that voice is also speaking about how to parent Selah…about how to make this collision in your life a joy! Listen.

Me: I’ll try…and thank you.

So, for the last few months I’ve tried to listen more closely. And you know what, I believe the Lord really does have a beautiful rhythm for my family. I’ve discovered that there are days when Selah is sick or needing mommy time that ministry needs to be put on the back burner. There are other days when I need to work extra hours or listen on the phone as a girl cries…and in those moments I’m actually amazed how God gives Selah the grace or provides others in my life (like my awesome husband) so that I can do what I’m called to do. For example, a young woman just left my house – we chatted for about 30 minutes about some things God is doing in her life…and 15 minutes before she arrived, Selah came to me with her blankie & sippy and pointed to her crib. We dropped morning naps about a month ago, but I put her down anyways, and she’s been asleep for an hour now. God gave us both the grace for this morning so that He could accomplish what He wanted.

I may make this sound too simplistic. There are still crazy moments and mishaps, but the constant guilt is fading, and it is making life so much more sweet – just the way He intended.

This past weekend, we took our college students on an annual camping retreat into a near-by canyon. My first inclination was to leave Selah with my mom, but when I stopped to really pray about what would be best for Selah, I felt like we should take her along! And oh what fun we had!

One of these things in not like the others...
Selah LOVED running around outside.

She loved hanging out with the cool college kids.

She loved that the cool college kids would give her anything she wanted – like Cheetos!

And I LOVED having my girl with us. I had to make a few concessions (like our lodging – she wasn’t going to sleep the night in a tent), but it went smoothly & it was one more reminder that the collision doesn’t always have to bring chaos or division. Instead, this collision of ministry and mommyhood can be an opportunity for God to demonstrate to us how His ways are not His.

“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

That deserves a knuckle-knock.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When Ministry and Mommyhood Collide

I've contemplated writing a series of blog posts for sometime on the topic of "When Life in Ministry is Hard."  The purpose would not be to complain - in fact, they are mostly lessons about my attitude in life, but I've felt that perhaps they were needed.

You see, I feel like in the blogosphere you basically get two sides to the coin when it comes to those of us in full-time ministry (and trust me, I KNOW ministry is so much more than full-time pastors - we can discuss this later) either get words from the uber-spiritual who seem to magically have it all together.  Whose blogs encourage others to follow their prescribed 6-step formula to a perfect life.  On the other end, we seem to have way too many nay-sayers out there who are quick to judge those of us in full-time ministry.  Proclaiming how ministry should be done and focusing on the horror stories of those who have been hurt in the pathway of professional ministers.

The nay-sayers have some good points.  I've been hurt too - LOTS - it comes with the territory of growing up as a preacher's kid and going to a well-known Christian college with so many problems that they recently grabbed the largest headlines in the nation.  But sometimes as a preacher-girl who is trying her hardest to make a small dent in West Texas, you can't help but feel all the naysayers are pointing at you...and you can't help but cynically wonder if the perfect preachers have a hidden mistress somewhere (just being honest)...

And in the midst of the many Spiritual just wonder if people really know what life is like for us...So, I thought I would give people a glimpse.  I wanted to share a few of the hard things, and the first blog in my mind - the one that seems to be a constant pull is:

When Ministry & Mommyhood Collide

It hit me hardest last spring when a baptismal service in our college ministry was approaching.  I was meeting with a college woman for almost a full-year at that time and was amazed at the transformation God was doing in her life.  This young woman who had walked into my office with defenses high and questions abounding was on an amazing journey of discovering the beauty of God's love and His transforming work in her heart.

She didn't have life all figured out yet and was still making plenty of mistakes, but when the baptismal service was announced she approached me about it.  I was ecstatic that she wanted to get baptized and encouraged her with all my heart.  We signed her up and all was set until Satan, the great accuser, began to assault her with every doubt and condemnation in his arsenal.

She called the day of the baptismal to explain that she wasn't going to go through with it, and listed a long list of reasons why she wasn't worthy.  Through texts and voicemails I was relentless that day.  I prayed and pleaded with God...I just knew deep in my heart that she needed to identify with Christ in that water!  I prayed and I prayed and I waited by my phone just hoping she would call to say her mind was changed.

And when I was prepared to give up hope - she called to say although she still felt like a wretch she knew she had to obey Him.  How refreshing her honesty was in my life, and as I hung up the phone I did a little happy dance!  It was less than one hour until our service so I hustled Selah through a quick dinner of macaroni and cheese and did my mom duties of getting the diaper bag ready at lightening speed.

We jumped into the car and I began to make my way towards the church.  Selah was noticeably quiet in the car, her little cooing and babbling sounds were absent, but I was not really paying attention because my heart was excited for the college kids I have come to love - excited about what God was going to do in their hearts this night.

And then I heard it.  The sound of my baby girl vomiting.  I darted my eyes into the rear view mirror to find to my horror that my girl was truly sick.  I will spare you the details of macaroni & milk in the hot sun (but those words alone should suffice for you to know it was a BAD scene in my car).

I pulled my car over and cradled my baby girl all the while yelling at God that this was not an appropriate time for my baby to be sick!  I needed to get to the church!  SHE needed me there.  And yet, in front of my eyes was my sweet Selah - and she needed me too.

As I cleaned up a mess with paper towels from the gas station I began to cry.  Was I to be one of those professional ministers who brought disappointment to a hurt girl who was desperate for truth?  Was I to be one more person that she could say didn't show up when she was reaching out her hand towards faith?  The fears ran rampant in my mind & I stood paralyzed on the side of Slide Road trying to decide who I was to be at this moment.

Because it was obvious that I could not be both Selah's mommy and her counselor.

And then I heard His voice.  The actual counselor...the actual hand of faith...the actual truth...the actual One she needed to see that night.  I heard Him simply say, "I am enough."

So I put Selah back into her car seat - my naked baby - pale and visibly shaken from what was attacking her body.  And I drove back home - tears down my eyes - crying for my baby who hurt - crying for my misplaced desire to be all things to all people - crying at the truth that He is enough - crying that she would find His truth for herself.

Ministry is hard sometimes - especially when choices must be made, and explanations are not always clear.  Have you experienced ministry to be hard as well?  I would love for you to share - perhaps we can encourage one another.

I have a part 2 to when Ministry and Mommyhood Collide (It's a more positive spin on it and what the Lord is currently teaching me) - I will share it soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Big Hair & Beth Moore (My Thoughts on this Weekend's Living Proof Live Event)

It’s a very crazy season of life around our little home.  Is it the same for you?  My guess is yes.  Between my work at the church, Josh’s 2 jobs that he constantly shifts back and forth from, family, friends, and loving on my little one there seems to be little time lately to rest or receive for myself…and yet, I’ve definitely learned over the last 5 years that I have to take care of my heart.

Sometimes that TLC comes in the form of sitting outside writing as I listen to crickets chirp (like tonight)…at other times it comes from sipping a great cup of coffee as I talk to a heart-friend…and at times it is travel  – for discovering new sights and sounds ignite my soul like nothing else…and sometimes, like this past Saturday, it’s getting into the Word of God & experiencing something new in the world of Christianity.

I have heard about Beth Moore for at least 7 or 8 years and yet with all the fanfare (actually probably because of all the fanfare) I’ve never ventured to do one of her Bible studies.  I thought I might try one out during maternity leave – I bought the work book & my mom brought over her DVDs…but as I quickly discovered – maternity leave would be a far cry from the semi-vacation I had envisioned before that 6lb. 7oz. bundle came into my life. 

So, as I walked into the United Spirit arena with ladies from my church – I realized that I was a Beth Moore novice in the midst of 9,000 women who most definitely were NOT!  I was a little leery to be honest – our group got in line an hour before the doors opened…and the doors opened an hour & a half before the meeting even started!  I informed them that I would just meet them there…but I decided that if I was really going to receive anything that I should also get excited.  So, I arrived with a grande latte before the doors opened as well.  I was met by a sea of women - flashy jewelry (I think you call it bling), big hair, and matching t-shirts.  Immediately I was a bit on guard until I felt like the Lord nudged me to quiet my judgments and just enjoy the ladies that are in my life.  So, I boldly fluffed my mane, grabbed my Bible & told God that I needed Him to meet me in this mass of women.

Yes, I was curious to see what the fuss was about Beth – I was interested to see just how she dove into Scripture – but mostly, I was aware that if I was giving up my Saturday, I wanted it to count.  I wanted to meet Jesus & hear Him.

And let me say, He met me indeed.  He met me through nuggets of wisdom as Beth Moore said simple yet profound statements such as “Disobedience deforms the heart while obedience reforms the heart.”  He reminded me through her words just how much I need the people (the “we” as she so aptly pointed from Scripture) in my life.  He pounded my heart as she called women to live unhindered – and my mind wondered just what that could be like if I really took Him up on the offer to live completely unhindered.

And I was also blessed by the fact that she wasn’t completely polished.  I loved that the graphics guy was caught in the men’s room when she asked him to put something on the big screen…I loved how she graciously handled women who yelled out that she had forgotten a point when she had so eloquently and passionately finished with a rousing conclusion to this day long event.  As someone who speaks fairly often, I know how those types of interruptions can completely throw you off – and yet she was gracious and funny – and she didn’t allow their outburst to interrupt what God was doing in the hearts of the 9,000 women in that room.

And if I’m really honest, I was mostly blessed as I watched 9,000 women praise Jesus.  With arms lifted high, bracelets and rhinestones shimmering in the lights, I saw that God is at work in so many places and hearts that I often dismiss.  I get frustrated with the women of West Texas sometimes (I’m just being honest) – I assume that they are more concerned with adding to the lifestyle that is prominent than willingly allowing God to strip them of burdens and offenses and fears.  But on Saturday as I watched women pour over Scripture, laugh and love on one another, and sing In Christ Alone – I realized that big hair isn’t all that is big in West Texas – there are women who have a BIG love for Jesus, and although they…WE…are not perfect, there is a desire – a hunger even – to know Jesus and make Him known.

The Sea of Ladies just waiting for those doors to open.  It reminded me of the Target Commercials before Christmas...Open, Open, Open...

With my Gorgeous Sister Kelsey - she is a truly Texas Trendy girl (as I lovingly refer to her)

Not sure if you can tell, but these ladies were doing the wave!  Out of control I tell you - ha!

My notes after Session 1

Beth Moore on the big screen - oh, and notice the leopard hat in front of us...if you don't actually have big hair, it is also permissible to wear a hat with bling :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where I Am - It's the Fall!

I’ve been MIA this week, so I thought I’d say a quick hello and let you know where I am on this process of becoming Paige.

Where I Am: Literally, I’m outside sitting in my new painted “ocean breeze” light blue wicker chair.  It’s a bit overcast and I’ve kept the door open all day so that Selah can play in this almost perfect weather. 

I’ve been MIA this past week because after Josh and I finished speaking at Trinity’s High School Retreat we jumped in the car and made our way to my grandfather’s wake.

My Pepa passed away last Thursday morning, and my heart was both sad that I would not see his face light up again at the very appearance of Selah…but my heart was also happy to know that he no longer suffers.  The last couple  years were really rough in his life & the realization that he is in true freedom and strength today makes this transition so much easier to bear.

The graveside was just my family – and what an AMAZING family I’ve been blessed with.  As I looked around at cousins and aunts and uncles I couldn’t help but say many thanks that I was dropped here with these people.  They are some of the best I know, and much of my “becoming Paige” process has been influenced by them.
I have 21 cousins on this side of my family.  Here are many of them with our Mema.
  I will write more this week about my grandfather and the adventure of showing steers for his Cattle Company – I wish I could post a video from that era of my life – I most definitely did not fit in with the country kids.

What has been on my mind: I’ve been learning this week to listen to God when it comes to the rhythm of my sweet family.  Selah wasn’t acting herself earlier this week – I think because we were away and then when we did return home she had to stay with babysitters quite a bit as we tended to family needs.  So yesterday and today, I made it a point to have lots of Selah time as well as to pray and ask for God’s direction in this area.

We had a blast together – we explored the back yard, played in the kitchen (Selah LOVES to cook – which is ironic since she rarely sees me spend much time at the stove), and snuggled lots.   

She has returned to her secure and happy demeanor 

It was a reminder to me as well…that those days when I’m “not myself” feeling insecure and exhausted – nothing remedies my soul like quality time with my heavenly father.  And it doesn’t have to be strict Bible reading – but exploring something new, dreaming of the future, and heart prayers are such a wonderful way to restore my soul.  Thankful for the last two days with Selah and Him.

Favorite Sounds:
Have you seen this video by Gungor?  LOVE!  Can’t wait to hear them in concert next month!

Favorite Sights:My niece Ava had her 5th Birthday Party last night.  The theme was an almost slumber party...and the sight of giggling girls in their best pajamas was enough to make me rather camera happy!

Until next time!
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