Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time for Tea

My mother encouraged me this Christmas to make the best use of my place here as "our minister's wife" and take time to exhort the women I find myself in congregation with. Most of them are many years my senior and it is daunting to think about teaching my elders. She suggested something a little more subtle. And so begins my next spiritual discipline: tea parties!

For Christmas Mom gave me three tea-party-as-ministry books. I've always wanted these and they have provided me with the motivation to get started. I am hoping to do one tea party a month, inviting only a handful of women to each. We'll enjoy each other's company, share stories, and, I hope, I'll have a time to give a devotion or share something the Lord has put on my heart. I'd like to have a hostess' gift or party favor for each woman to take home along with some sort of reminder of the time.

For this first tea, I've invited four of the older women of our congregation. They are all very active in the congregation and have been for many years. I hope to encourage them to continue in doing the work they are already doing as well as challenging them to be mentoring younger women. I'm calling this a New Beginnings Tea and I hope to remind these seasoned members that they still have much to give to this body, even with a new young whippersnapper in the pulpit! The kids have helped me to bake an apricot ladder loaf, make fancy tuna salad for tea sandwiches and I've started making sets of quilted coasters for each woman to take home. I'm looking forward to our time together.

Please pray for this gathering as we minister to each other. Pray that it is the first of many gatherings of the women of our church to encourage one another to grow in our discipleship, and please pray for me in this strange position of leadership in which I find myself.

holy experience

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Day Musings

I have always loved the rain. What can I say, I'm a Washington state girl at heart. In college (in Washington state) I learned that the rain was one of God's ways of saying "I love you." I know that it rains just for me. Just to be told that I am loved.

Today was a rainy day. And windy, too. It literally blew our door off it's hinges! With all that love blowing around there certainly was a lot to be grateful for. And so today my list begins with:

186. Rain - lots of it
187. My husband who finds me beautiful
188. Past heartbreaks
189. A past redeemed
190. A new rowing machine (thanks Mom and Dad!)
191. A timely word
192. Fresh baked bread from...
193. A fabulous new bread recipe (
194. Our small town community
195. Emma, regarding taking turns for the new rowing machine: "Katie, the Bible says to let others go first and since I am an honest woman, you may go first."
196. My back porch/extra winter fridge
197. Ice skating with the kids
198. Katie working so hard and doing so well at ice skating
199. Katie working so hard at gymnastics with a good attitude
200. My Pastor-husband
201. Emma feeding her little brother for me
202. The trust of a wonderful young woman
203. A refresher course in geometry

Be thankful this week and enjoy the rain, however it comes in your life.

holy experience

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blog Interrupted

So, this isn't exactly what my blog is about, but to continue with the sewing information I wanted to post a picture of a project I finished today. My friend over at posted this pattern from another site. I'll let you check it out at her site though since it's pretty cool. I'm grateful for the meditative quality of sewing, but frankly it's mostly just fun for me. Perhaps next week I'll write about the spiritual discipline of having fun!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Boldly Go...

My husband and father-in-law are big Star Trek fans.  Dad Rose even wears a Star Trek tie to remind himself that God calls us to "boldly go where no man has gone before."  My Star Trek history is not quite so enthusiastic.  My family about once a week would watch the original show reruns while eating in front of the TV on the family Twister mat.  When all the spinoffs and "next generations" came out we didn't keep up the tradition. 

But Rob and I have several times been called to "boldly go" to places where we, at least, had never gone before.  Shortly after we were married (two months, to be exact) we joined a travelling ministry team and lived on a 45-foot bus with six other people for the first year and a half of our marriage.  Surprised again by God's call in our lives, Rob began pursuing ministry in the military.  We've been called to boldly go into hospice ministry, youth ministry, and most recently to move across the country away from family and friends to pastor this small church in upstate New York. 

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that once again God is calling us to move boldly into another area in ministry.  The details are still be worked out and we'll share them with you all as they get firmed up.  (Don't panic, Mom, we're not moving again!)  But once again we've heard from God and are gathering up the courage to be obedient.  We are trying to remember that He has always been faithful.  And to remember that - unlike Star Trek - we are not going where no man has gone before.  Many have gone before us, and more importantly, our Lord has gone before us to prepare the way. 

Thank you all for your prayers for us as we continue to listen to God's call in our lives.  Please pray for the success of this new venture that we believe God will use to change lives.  Our own included!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blessed Assurance

I'm not usually a huge fan of the King Jame Version of the Bible.  Not for study purposes at least.  I heard too much of my husband's seminary classes to know about authoritative texts and so on.  But the KJV has one great thing going for it.  It's beautiful.  It's poetic.  And as such it touches a part of my soul that no literal, more historically accurate version can.  No wonder so many Biblical songs have used this version to set the Word of God to music. 
When I was a child my parents sang a song from 1 Timothy to me.  I only remember the one line, but it's been going through my head today.  I couldn't find it in my Bible, but at I can search through just about every English version of the Bible there is.  (Check it out; I love it for my study times.)  Sure enough, there it is in the King James:  "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."
I've been thinking about that today as I'm getting ready to meet with a young lady from church.  I'm not sure where she stands with the Lord and, worse, I'm not sure she does either.  There is such comfort and hope in those words.  I remember, too, that Paul (the older teacher) is writing to Timothy (the new, young pastor) to encourage him.  Pray for me today as I meet with this lovely young woman.  Pray that I could be a Paul to her Timothy, that God would speak words of encouragement to her, and pray that she would "know whom [she has] believed" and be persuaded of his faithfulness.  For that knowledge I am so grateful!

I'm also grateful today for:
174.  An encouraging parenting article (
175.  A new friend
176.  Opportunities to grow
177.  Ian sleeping so well
178.  Finding and starting a quilt pattern for my New Year's Day resolution quilt
179.  A fun aquarium craft with the kids
180.  Checkbook balanced
181.  Deep time in the Word after a long dry time
182.  A great sermon at church.  Again.
183.  New phones (mixed blessing)
184.  Dinner with church friends
185.  Lettuce  (I've been craving it!)

holy experience

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spiritual Parenting

I said last week I'd write more about sewing with my girls.  Here is the promised update:

When I was small my mother would sew with me.  Simple patterns for sundresses, shorts, easy stuff.  We'd cut out the patterns and I'd struggle through pinning them to the hideous fabric I wish I could say my mother had chosen for me.  She would sit at her sewing machine and do a couple of seams, then invite me to come and finish off that particular piece.  Without fail, I would sit down and the thread would break.  Or the needle would come unthreaded.  Or the fabric would jam in the hole-plate-thingy.  It was all to easy for me to conclude that the sewing machine hated me.  It knew I was coming, it sensed my fear, and gleefully it thwarted my every attempt to use it.

Kind of like parenting.  Oh, I don't think that my children hate me; analogies always break down somewhere.  But just when I think that the parenting machine is humming right along, the thread breaks.  Usually my thread.  We've established an order, a comfortable pace or method of doing things.  Sure it's tedious to get some of those pins (guidelines) in place, but all in all we're doing alright.  Until I get to the sewing machine.  Or the math workbook.  Or the room cleaning.  And once again I've been thwarted.

Most of you know how much I love my four little ones.  You may not know that I grew up in a similarly loving home, but I did.  There are very few things that my husband and I have said we will not do like my parents.  We have said, however, that we will not yell - as in significantly raise the volume of our voices - at our children.  It is an intimidating and, ultimately, ineffective way of communicating, especially with someone so much smaller than you.  I confess, this week, I have done a lot of yelling.  I have often felt thwarted in my parenting, like something is out to get me. 

In my encounters with the sewing machine as a child, I usually quit trying after what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably only a few minutes of struggle.  I stopped sewing with my mother (I'm sorry about that, Mom) when I was about ten.  It was too frustrating.  I'm tempted to do that with parenting sometimes.  It can be too frustrating.  But I realized something today: I've started sewing again.  Literally.  My husband bought me a new sewing machine in the Fall.  I read the manual (always good for me) and gave it a whirl.  After a false alarm call to the company about a suspected missing part ("No, ma'am, that lever is inside the machine.), and several of my childhood mishaps, I'm sewing.  I've actually started a quilt as one of my New Year's Resolutions.  And I know that if I can take up something as eternally insignificant as sewing, certainly I can persevere in my parenting.  It helps to read the manual and just give it a whirl.  There will certainly be false alarms and regressions to my childhood, but I'll be parenting just the same. 

I was reminded of something important and encouraging today in an article by Leslie Leyland Fields in Christianity Today.  She writes about worrying less about being a successful parent and more about being a faithful one.  She says,
         "Parenting, like all tasks under the sun, is intended as an endeavor of love, risk, perseverance, and above all faith.  It is faith rather than formula, grace rather than guarantees, steadfastness rather than success that bridges the gap between our own parenting efforts, and what, by God's grace, our children grow up to become." 


holy experience

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Normal

Our house could scarcely be called "normal."  We're raising four children (more than the average), homeschooling (still a minority group), pastoring in a church where we're the youngest married couple there, Californians transplanted to New York.  The list could go on and on.  But we've created something of a routine for ourselves and finally after a wonderful holiday season, we're getting back into that routine.  And while some may dread routine, I thrive on it.  As a matter of fact, my particularly low periods in life are when I throw routine - and caution - to the wind and decide to be the spur-of-the-moment type of person I always wished I could be.  My mother is one of those people, so full of joy and spontaneity, and with her here I got caught up in the excitement and the possibilities.  We had a very sweet visit, don't mistake that at all (Mom), but I got out of my routine, including giving thanks.  I won't go into all the details.  Let's just say that it wasn't pretty.

So, with Mom on a plane back to California and a whole day of schooling under our belt, with alarm-clock-inspired wakings and chores done for the morning, we're getting back to normal.  And I'm giving thanks.

160.  A good cry
161.  Talking with my mom
162.  Anti-biotics
163.  Ian so cheerful even during his sickness
164.  Making our last car payment (I was so excited about this I wrote it down twice!)
165.  A fun day with the kids
166.  Ann Voskamp (
167.  Sewing with my girls
168.  My understanding husband
169.  A too-full fridge
170.  Another friend expecting a baby!
171.  Running water/unfrozen pipes
172.  My brave husband
173.  A loan payment from the Air National Guard

Thank you, Lord, for your extravagantly NORMAL blessings!

holy experience

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So: A Needle Pulling Thread

We didn't get to bake today.  We were out all day which is very unusual for us.  This evening however the girls and I sewed together.  I'm thinking, maybe a new discipline?  More later.

holy experience

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (not by Al Franken)

I spent too much of this week listening to lies.  I wish I could say that this is a new experience for me, but it's not.  Not even the lies are new.  They're the same ones that I hear year in and year out from the enemy who would steal my joy.  You're ugly.  So stupid.  No good mother would do that.  And most of all I hear:  You cant.  Can't cook.  Can't teach.  Can't sing.  Can't create.  Can't change.  It hurts to even write them out here.  I can feel each barb, each sting.  The childish taunting tone.  The hopelessness.

But there is hope, and that is found in the Truth.  I'm not so good at speaking the Truth to myself.  I get too buried in the lies I have listened to for so many, many years.  This week, however, God sent two Truth-speakers into my life.  It took many days for their words to penetrate through the muck, but it has.  You are loved.  You're amazing.  You are so good at that.  You can do it.  And of course:  I love you.  The greatest Truth of all.   These two people have always been the best at speaking into my life and so they top my thanksgivings list.

139.  My mother
140.  My husband
141.  Breaking through the darkness
142.  The smell of fresh rolls baking
143.  The ability to give to a friend in need
144.  Courage to bake yeast breads (Thanks, Sara Jane!)
145.  Gifts to encourage healthy living
146.  Roast lamb
147.  New mini-loaf pans
148.  Grandma Kate (my mother) making banana bread with David
149.  Amazing homeschool resources
150.  Our local library (again)
151.  Online library catalog
152.  Squash soup at Steiningers
153.  More snow
154.  Snow plows
155.  Michael's craft store
156.  Coupons!
157.  Papa's apology
158.  Kids in the snow
159.  Grace to get up this morning with my alarm (almost!)

Praise the Lord for his Truth.  Praise Him for his Unfailing Love.  Praise Him for his Encouragment.  Praise Him for his Grace and his Grace-givers.  Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!

I pray that as you begin this New Year you would listen for his Truth.  Stop your ears to the lies.  Surround yourself with those who would speak the Truth into your life.  And hear it!

holy experience


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