Thursday, March 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

I've linked up with Kelly's Korner to tell you about what I'm reading these days.  I don't know if you are anything like me, but I usually have several books going at once.  I have one next to my bed.  I have one in my car.  I have one on my Kindle.  I have one next to my chair in the living room.  Basically, I have books (or access to a book on my Kindle/Phone/iPad) everywhere.  These are the ones I'm really into right now. 

Intentional Parenting
I actually won this book in a Twitter giveaway.  It has been instrumental in some of the specific changes we have made in our home this past year.  I rank it as one of my top parenting books that I've read.  (and, trust me...I've read a lot of them!)  It is written by family therapists and their advice is so good and practical that I've wanted to fly to Nashville just to sit down with them for a few sessions.  Not kidding.  
 This book was actually recommended to us by a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist here in DeLand.  I read it first and kept talking about points in the book so much that Dan read it.  I can't tell you how much it has helped us with Jonah.  
If you have been to my blog much at all, then you have heard me talk about Tricia Lott Williford's blog.  I was captivated from the moment I read the first entry.  Her husband died suddenly on December 23 (can't remember the year- maybe 2010?) and left behind a wife and 2 small boys.  Her blog has brought me to tears more times than I can count.  Her book is mostly stories I had already read on the blog but they are still so beautifully written.  I would recommend this book to anyone dealing with grief. in ministry.  This is a fun book about being a Pastor's wife and still be relevant in the world we are called to reach.  It is a practical book but it has been super helpful to me on this journey of life in a fishbowl.  
And, this one...oh, this one.  NO BOOK has ever evoked the emotions in me that this one has.  I SOBBED one night to the point that my body ached.  If you can't handle a cry, then don't read this.  The story is about two families who experienced loss and ended up falling in love.  The love story is beautiful but you have to make it through the awful deaths of two spouses to get to the beauty.  I bought this on a Kindle deal one day and tried to loan it to my friend Amanda but it is one Kindle book that can't be loaned for some reason.  

So, what are you reading?  I leave for vacation in 10 days and I want some good fiction to read.  Not Hunger Games style fiction but clean love story style fiction.  I want something that is hard to put down.  Any ideas?

A little country livin' in the city!

One Sunday afternoon while Dan was in meetings, the boys and I spent some time with Cheryl Moremen and her crew.  The kids had a blast!  From chickens to gathering eggs to playing outside to riding a golf cart to (almost) riding the zip line...they were hooked on country life. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love Like You Mean It

I'm a proponent of marriage!  I want marriages to work.  I want people to realize how good marriage can be.  I read a lot about marriage.  I talk to a lot of people about marriage.  I want people to work on their marriage when they think things are good.  So, as you can imagine, I was super excited to learn that there would be ANOTHER Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise!

Dan and I planned to do this cruise earlier this year.  But, when we realized we were in the very close stages to calling a new Worship Pastor, we realized we could not be out at that time.  So we cancelled.  But, friends of ours went.  This is a portion of what she said it about it on her blog

There was always a main session after our meal. They began with praise and worship and you could literally feel the tidal wave of the Holy Spirit rush through that place. Chill bumps covered our bodies, tears streamed down our cheeks at times, and the smiles on our faces seemed to never go away. The message always hit home and motivated us to love one another deeper than we already did when we walked on to that boat. There were also fun things to do like karaoke and newlywed games. They had lots of concerts with big name artists and lots of side seminars that you could attend if you wanted to.

Jim and I walked on the ship believing that we had most everything in our marriage “together” and we really didn’t NEED any of the seminars or breakout sessions. We were excited about being a part of it, being around other Christian couples, and hearing what Family Life had to say, but we didn’t really NEED a “marriage cruise”. Wow! Were we wrong! We learned more about one another, we forgave hurts, we met friends that we will cherish forever, we saw couples that had drawn up divorce papers recommit to one another and say those papers were going in the trash, we relaxed, rejuvenated and even renewed our own vows under the moonlight in the middle of the ocean. Most importantly, God showed us something He had for US to do together, as a couple. He revealed another purpose that He put us on this earth for. We learned how to communicate more effectively with one another and we learned exactly what God intended for our marriage to look like. Not only does that affect us, it in turn affects our children, our family, our friends, our church, and our community. This was so much more than amazing. It was truly a piece of heaven on earth!

While I'm really sad we missed this year, I'm so excited about going in 2015.  And, I'm even more excited about taking a group.  We have registered and paid our deposit.  We are going.  We just really want to take as many of you with us that we can!  You don't have to live here.  You can fly or drive in.  We sail out of Miami on February 9, 2015.  

Please, go HERE and read more about the cruise! It is more costly than a typical cruise because it includes top notch entertainment and speakers.  You are paying for a cruise and a conference.  But, it is an investment in your marriage that you won't regret once you are there.  We paid our deposit today and the balance is divided into 10 monthly payments for no additional fee.  

Someone told me today that they had no desire to pay for a cruise that is typically a relaxing vacation just to have to sit in conferences and seminars.  NOTHING is required.  You can do as much or as little as you want.  But, from all I hear, once you go to one thing, you are pretty hooked and don't want to miss any of it. 

So, if you want more information, please contact me.  We would LOVE to have you join us for this great week.  Our group is registered.  There is a special through March 14th that is Buy One fare and Get One Fare half off.  Plus you get the early bird discount of $50 a person.  It's a great deal!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dan's D.Min Graduation- The Celebration

I almost titled this post "The best laid plans..." 

I had the perfect set up for Dan's post graduation party!  There are very few places in New Orleans that will allow you to have their party room without a specific catering menu and a huge room rental fee.  But, while we were there in October, we stumbled upon a great little place in the French Quarter that had a party room.  And, while they normally charge a fee for the room, they said it was their slow time of year so they wouldn't charge me.  SCORE!

As soon as graduation was over, George and Melinda (or, our saviors on this trip, as we prefer to call them) went ahead to the place to let them know we were all headed that way.  She called me later to say they had no reservation for our party of 29.  NO RESERVATION!  Keep in mind, I called and confirmed it two weeks in advance AND I stopped by on Thursday of the same week and spoke with the manager myself.  Yet, they had NO RESERVATION.  I began to have mild panic.  Did I mention is rainy and cold that day?  Yeah, not the perfect combination to have to trapse up and down the street looking for a place to accommodate 29 people.  

As we got closer to the restaurant, Melinda called back to say they found our reservation.  Dan let me off close to the door so he could go park.  The place was packed.  Half of our people were there already.  The line was out the door.  They had no plans to seat us anytime soon.  And, my kids who rode with Sue and Amanda had already been encouraged by a few of our church members to just belly right on up to the bar.  So, they did!

We waited (for what seemed like) FOREVER for our tables upstairs.  What was initally supposed to be a room to ourselves turned into a shared room with a lot of football fans.  Have I mentioned New Orleans was busier than I had ever seen it before?  The Louisiana State Football Championships were in town and there were fans everywhere.  But, we settled in to a few tables of our people.  It wasn't the fun party we had planned.  It was more "to each his own."  But, it worked.  And, fortunately, most of the people who came to celebrate with us were pretty easy going.  (Ahem...those who weren't are reading this and know exactly who I'm talking about!!)

Another benefit to the place we booked was the balcony overlooking the French Quarter.  But, the rain kept us from fully utilizing it.  We were able to take some photos in between the showers. 

Even after we were seated, more of our people were still trickling in.  Parking was atrocious!  Some people had to circle the lots for close to an hour to find a place.  It was a serious planning fail!  Sorry, friends and family!  Had we known the Football peeps were in town, we would have avoided the French Quarter at ALL costs!

We tried (unsuccessfully) over the time together to get a good picture of Rachel and Micah.  They are just 3 days apart.  One of them never cooperated with the photos.  That one would be mine. 

Jonah spilled his entire drink at one point.  It embarrassed him greatly.  Jimmy tried to make him feel better. 

Everyone seemed to really enjoy their food.  There were lots of comments about it.  We certainly loved it when we were there in October.  Unfortunately, I only got 2 bites of mine.  As I was taking my third bite, Micah gagged on something and threw up his entire meal...right into my plate.  So, I snacked on the rest of Amanda's food.  There is always a benefit to having skinny friends.  They never eat all of their food. 

We left their and walked down to Cafe Du Monde.  There was another wait there.  But, definitely worth the wait!  :-)

This one ESPECIALLY loved his!!!

For some reason, the following pictures are from lunch but ended up at the end of the post.  Since we are already 3 months past graduation, I'm not prolonging this post anymore by taking the time to fix these.  So, pretend we are back at lunch.  :-)

It was such a wonderful weekend for our family and special friends.  We are so blessed and encouraged by the love shown to Dan.  The trips made from Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and other parts of Louisiana speak volumes to us.  Your love and encouragement to our family means more than you will EVER know.  This weekend will always hold such a special place in our hearts. 


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