Monday, October 31, 2022

There are many ways to grow a church....

...But I think this way is my favorite!


Pastor Appreciation

Every year during October our church spoils us.  They make us feel like we are celebreties.  We are so undeserving to serve alongside these amazing people.  So blessed we are!

They always pick a Sunday in October and tell us to arrive a couple minutes late.  This is something we never do, so we always know something is up.  As we walk in they all stand and cheer.  I mean like hooting and hollering cheering!

This year they had us sit on the 3rd row.  That was strange.  We never sit there.  I don't know why but it made us all laugh.  But, we did as we were told.

/Then they proceeded to give testimonies on how thankful they are for their Pastor.  It always makes me so thankful and quite teary eyed too.  I see what no one else sees.  He carries burdens for his people that others will never know.  For him to be appreciated so well makes the burdens a little lighter.  We are so thankful for the people of VSIBC!

They gave us many, many gifts.  They also gave my hubby a very nice new Bible.  He loves it!! And who doesn't love to smell a new Bible?

They gave me a giftcard to Cheesecake Factory. Yay!!! 

And a nice giftcard to a local salon.  Manicure here I come!

Then they decided to take up $10 giftcards to give to my kiddos.  All in all there were over $900 of giftcards they were able to split.  Wow!!

 We truly are blessed to serve with an amazing group of people.  They love us so much and we are so grateful!!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Cutting the Apron Strings

I was recently asked to teach a breakout session at a Ladies Conference.  When the Pastor's Wife sent me the topic to speak on I was a little surprised.  The topic was on Parenting Adults.  I feel pretty new to this season of my life.  When Joshua was getting ready to graduate and we were in the midst of planning his graduation, I knew that we, as parents, were embarking on a new endeavor.  I wanted to desperately succeed at parenting my kids in their adult years.  I began asking lots of questions to other parents that had great relationships with their grown kids.  I began reading books on the topic and keeping my ears ready to listen to the topic.  Of course, I searched God's Word for answers, too.  So, although I am definitely not an expert on this topic, I was able to share what I've learned, and what I'm learning.  I thought I could share it here, too.

When learning how to parent adult children it's important to remember What our purpose as Mommas IS.  When they were younger we fulfilled many roles.  We were caregiver, director, disciplinarian, nutritionist, dietician, doctor and nurse, maid, teacher, taxi driver, counsellor, confidante, back rubber, boo-boo kisser......I could keep going, but when our kiddos are little we have many responsibilities.  So, what is my purpose now that they are older?  

My purpose is now 2 things:
 1.  Pray for them
2. Encourage them

It's that easy!! (or is it?)  I quite often remind myself to Pray & Encourage, Pray & Encourage.  I'm learning and sometimes I still give my opinions whether wanted or not, but I'm learning that these 2 things are my job now.  My time to teach and train my older 3 is done.  Now, It's time to Pray & Encourage.

What if their success was dependent upon my prayers?  Would they succeed or fail?  Have I asked them for specifics of what to pray for them about?

In this world there will be plenty of people that will want to tear my children down.  I don't want to be one of them.  I want to be their biggest cheerleader!!  I want to praise them publicly and privately.  If I look for the negative, I will find it.  (Just like they would find it in me.)  I want to on purpose see the good!

Just as important as knowing what our purpose is, it's also important to know what our purpose IS NOT.  My purpose is not to take away their hurts.  I wish I could, but I can't. It's so hard to see our children hurt.  There will be suffering and trials they will experience.  They will go through broken hearted times.  I can't easily make it all better any more.  And you know what?  God doesn't want me to.  He wants to be the one they run to in their time of need.  I don't want to be a Momma that gets in the way of that.  He needs to be their strong tower like in Proverbs 18:10.  Let God rescue them and watch their faith grow!!

So now we know what our pupose is and what it is not.  But do you have a plan?  Here are a few things I've learned:

~Initiate.  They don't have to always be the ones to initiate contact.  I hear too often from other ladies, "My son doesn't call me."  "My daughter doesn't come by to see me."  Do you call them?  Do you go see them?  Don't act as if they "owe" you. Just as they needed one on one time when they were little, they still need that time now.  But, life gets busy and will pass us by.  Invite them out for coffee.  Invite them to come over and make their favorite meal or dessert.  It's worth it!

~Don't be afraid to say NO.  Let me say up front....I haven't had to experience this.  My kiddos are very conscious of not abusing me.  But, I hear of many adult children that take advantage of their parents.  Their parents pay their bills.  Their parents watch their kids constantly.  Their parents are their taxi service.  Those Mommas are stressed and not enjoying their grandchildren as they ought to.  Don't be afraid to sweetly say "No." (with a smile of course :o) )  You can only be taken advantage of if you allow it.

Love them by loving their spouse.  Your daughter in law is not you.  She will do things, cleaning, child raising.   In fact, she will do all those things even better for your son because God made her for him.    She completes him.  Not you.  I know that's hard to take in sometimes.  I remember when Joshua and Tabitha had been married only a couple of months and Josh got really sick with a high fever.  I knew how high his fevers can get.  I know how to get the fever down and to check on him.  It was hard to walk away from their camper and leave him in Tabitha's hands that day.  My Momma heart wanted to walk right in with a cool cloth, tylenol, motrin and my thermometer.  But, I didn't.  And you know what?  Tabitha took good care of him.  Amazing care.   I'm learning that I can love Joshua best by loving Tabitha.  (And honestly she's so easy to love.  She's one of my girls!)  Do you know your daughter in laws and son-in-laws favorites?  Have you taken her out for coffee?  Have you bragged on her?   Let her know what a treasure she is.  (And your son in law, too)

~Have a happy marriage.  Just as a small child finds and feels security when their Mommy and Daddy are in love, adult children are the same way.  They need to know you are still in love with their Dad.  Don't complain about your husband to them.  And don't let them come between you and your husband.  Always side with your man.

~Make your home a place of peace---A retreat and refuge from the world.  Remember the saying, "There's no place like home!"  Is that true for your house?  Plan some fun times in your home.  Have your kiddos over for a fun family night.  They're not too old to play games with.  Plan some fun with them!  My Mom is a master at this.  She loves to do theme nights.  Cowboy, Hawaiin, Minute to win it games....Pinterest is a wealth of info here!  Get some fun things on the calendar.

~Don't complain about them.  Don't tear apart how they do things and or what they need to be doing.  Just don't.  Other people don't need to know of their struggles.  Of course they have them, just like we do.  Be the voice of praise in their lives.

~Don't be afraid to say you are sorry.  You will make mistakes sometimes.  Be ready to ask forgiveness.  And when they come to you asking the same, be merciful.

But what about when things don't go as planned?    I love the verse in Ezekiel 36:36, it says, "....I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it."  We must trust the Lord with our children.  We must put them in His capable hands.  He can bring conviction.  He can take care of them.  We aren't perfect, so don't expect them to be.  Let them be adults and give them the gift of humanity.  Think about when you were that age.  You were still figuring out how to adult.  (Hey, I still am!)  Let them learn from their mistakes in their way and time.  No reminders needed.  And when they do fall or struggle, remember your purpose....Pray and Encourage.

It was 8 years ago that I faced this new season of life.  Like I said, I'm not an expert.  But I do have to say, I love this season of life.  Really, really love it.  I have best friends that are amazing.  We love to be together and do things together. Time with them is a treasure and a gift.

3 John 4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
It's true.  It really is.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Brenna's progress

 I had someone recently ask me for another update on Brenna.  She looked so beautiful Sunday, so I just had to post this picture.  She looks healthy and getting back to normal.  What a scare we had last month!  But, praise the Lord, her blood pressure has regulated, her headaches have decreased some, her swelling has gone down, and she is just doing really great.  And that little Asa has my heart!  He has the cutest expressions,  He's the cutest grumpy baby :o)  

She is still on seizure protocol, and being careful.  She had a sobering visit with her doctor recently about everything that had happened.  We praise the Lord for his protection on her life!

I feel like my blog has become a medical prayer journal lately, but I am thankful to have friends praying.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Thank you for your prayers!!

 Thank you so much for praying for my Dad.  It was a comfort to know that I could put out a message and have people praying.  

Dad is doing better!! I am so thankful!  The ambulance took him to his local hospital, which is a good place.  But, it wasn't the best place for him after just having surgery to remove lung cancer.  Things were pretty scary hearing what was going on.  They didn't want to keep him long, so at 3 AM they transferred him 2 hours north to the Moffet Cancer Center in Tampa where he had had his surgery.  They are amazing there and quickly started caring for my Dad.  A couple of days later and he has improved so much!! I even talked to him last night on the phone and it was so good to hear his voice.  I cherish that.

Thank you again for your prayers!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Prayers for Dad

( picture taken last week right after his surgery)

 Please, blogging friends, pray for my Dad. He was doing so well after his surgery, but soon after started swelling. He did go home with tubes but has been very uncomfortable and in a lot of pain. This afternoon my Mom had to call the ambulance. He is now in the hospital and running a fever. 

Please pray.

 Pray for the doctors to have wisdom.

Pray for the right medicine to be given to him.

Pray for the doctors to communicate well and work in coordination with his doctors in Tampa at the Moffitt Cancer center.

Pray for the infection to leave his body.

Pray for him to have rest and to not be in so much pain.

And pray for my mom as she's trying to be strong for him but I know it's hard on her as well.

I'm blessed to have a good group of friends that I know will be praying. Prayerfully I'll have a wonderful update very soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A full front row

 I started praying several years ago for a certain request.  But to fully explain I must rewind about 40+ years.  My family had just moved to Fort Myers.  My Mom was looking for a church for her and her girls to attend.  She tried several but just didn't find the right fit. Then one day my cousin invited her to Winkler Road Baptist Church.  She went hoping this would be the church she could call home.  She enjoyed it that day.  There were many things about that church that she loved, but do you know the thing that most caught her eye and captured her heart?  The front of the church.  The front rows  held the teenagers.  Their youth group was up front, close to the preaching and ready to hear the Word of God.  My Mom liked that and knew she wanted that for her daughters.   So that became our church home!  

When we started Victory Springs I knew I wanted our teens to sit in the front.  I want them to be hungry to hear the Word of God. I began praying for a front row full of teen boys specifically.  (Although now I've made that prayer even more specific to say, "front row of preacher boys."  But that will come!) 

Not too long ago I had a horrible migraine and it happened to be on a Sunday. I was so disappointed that I couldn't go to church. It started to ease up a little by church time so I was able to turn on our livestream.  And I saw that God is so good and answers prayer.  I counted 11 teenage boys sitting in front at church.  The camera didn't pick up the other side that held 5 teenage girls up front.   That right there is an answer to prayer.

I'm thankful for a great group of young people striving to serve the Lord.  I'm thankful that on Sunday morning there is a quest to make sure they get to the front and reserve their seat.  I'm thankful for a full church with few spots open.  VSIBC is growing!  Praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 16, 2022

A word we didn't want to hear

Our family heard a word that we never wanted to hear.  Cancer.  My Dad's breathing has become more labored as of late.  My concerned Mother made sure my Dad got into the doctor quickly.  After some tests my Dad was told the dreaded words, "You have cancer."  

They quickly got him into Moffet Cancer Center in Tampa.  They are known for being one of the best.  On the day of the surgery Beth and I were able to go and be in the waiting room with my Mom and two of my sisters.  It was hard waiting, that's for sure.  When they called us into a private room to talk with the doctor, it scared us!  There was panic in each of our eyes.  The first thing the doctor said was, "It went very well!"  We were so thankful!!

This picture was after meeting with the doctor.  Can you see the relief in our eyes!?!

Even though the surgery went very well, they did have to remove half of his lung and some lymph nodes. They are still waiting until pathology comes back to determine if he needs chemo.

 This is my Dad the next day.  Doesn't he look great!! I'm so thankful!

Prayers appreciated in the days ahead as my Dad recovers.  I sure do love this man!!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Just in Time!

 I posted not too long ago that our church is looking for a new location.  Our new building isn't done yet, and the one we are renting has been sold.  We had 60 days to find a new location.  Living in a small town, there weren't many options for a space that would hold at least 120 people.

We are so thankful the Lord opened up doors for us to rent two units in a plaza in High Springs.  We have lots of renovations to do and walls to tear down.  It's exciting!!!  We have less than a month to complete the move.  It's going to be busy!  Lots of prayers appreciated in these days ahead.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

5 Treasures

 Being a Lolli is amazing.  To say that these 5 have my heart is an understatement.  I never fully realized how much I would LOVE being a Grandma!

Preparing for Ian

Hurricane season.  It's a season that preoccupies us Floridians. And rightly so! As hurricane Ian formed and made its path, at first it looked like we were the target here in North Central Florida.  But then it kept turning more southeasterly.  Which meant my parents and sisters were right in the path of the massive storm.  Once they realized they were going to be a direct hit, it was too late to evacuate.  I75 was crazy standstill and the cities to the east were getting tornadoes.  They all decided to board up, stock up on supplies and hunker down.  I am thankful I was able to keep in touch with them through a good part of the storm.

As the storm approached they sent pictures of the first destruction.  They were worried about the wind, but also the storm surge.  We were all praying for God to protect them!

As the morning went on, their texts and calls changed.  I could tell the storm was getting very bad.  They were all in hallways with mattresses on or near them.  My sister saw a tornado on her road.  Then she texted that her fence was gone. And then her shed was gone.  Mom's big swing blew away.  And then, I didn't hear anything from them.  

Having no communication was hard.  We prayed and prayed and prayed.  Watching reports on the news was pretty scary.

By that night, each of my sisters and my parents were able to get a signal or a way to respond that they were safe!  I was so thankful!  They experienced some destruction and my parents and sister will need a new roof, but they are safe.  Praise God!!  There is much destruction to my hometown.  It will take a long time to rebuild and 8 families from my home church lost everything, including their cars.  But, they are safe.  Things can be replaced.  I am so thankful for God's protection!

As the storm passed over Fort Myers, it looked like it had moved a good bit east so that we wouldn't experience anything too bad once it came up this way.  But, we know our area.  We so easily lose power!  Since they thought we could get tropical storm force winds, we prepared just in case we lost power.  Josh and Tabitha invited us to stay the night in their home in case it was windy.  So, I baked cupcakes to bring. :o)

Sure enough, our power went out.  We didn't have elctricity for about 12 hours.  We lit candles, grilled some yummy meat and made the most of it!

 It took about a week for the electricity to be restored for my Fort Myers family.  I sent them this verse that Tabitha had sent to me,

"when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me."

So thankful for God being that bright light to shine on our path.  What an awesome Protector/Provider that we have!  So thankful for His protection!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A Birthday Trip

With all the unexpected busyness, I didn't get a chance to post on a really great trip me and my 4 (at home) kiddos were able to take.  It was my Mom's very special birthday!  I am so glad we were able to go down and celebrate it with her!!

As usual, we were able to do so many fun things with them.  We went to a really neat vintage market they held at the Civic Center.  There were a lot of vendors with cutesy things.  I love fall, and fall is in the air!

We took my Dad to Duck Donuts.  Have you ever been to one? They are amazing.  I mean really, really, amazing and delicious!! They have donuts with the neatest toppings.  Like Maple Bacon, or Blueberry Cheesecake, or Apple Pie....I am already looking for my next stop at a Duck Donuts somewhere!

Then, they took us to a Butterfly habitat.  It was so peaceful and relaxing, and right in the middle of downtown!

Then, my sisters and I gave my Mom a fun birthday party.  It was really great!

I was so glad we were able to go!! It was a super quick trip, but so worth it!

 On the way home our AC quit.  Then it started to was quite a trip home!! But, we rolled down our windows, sang at the top of our lungs, and had a great time together making more memories!

That was a couple of weeks ago that we took our trip to Fort Myers.  Since then, that area has been devastated by Hurricane Ian.  I'm so thankful my parents and sisters and their families are safe.  To lose things is difficult.  But people are more important that things.  I'm so thankful for their safety!