Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prayer Problems

"I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer."(Psalm 63:4 NLT)

*SPOILER ALERT! Todd will be using the following story for a small part of his sermon on Sunday.

The best I can hope for as a mom and a Christian is for my children to have a deep and personal relationship with God. I help my children form these bonds early by praying with them and for them.

Sometimes the girls really seem to understand what prayer is all about. And sometimes not.

Ava finally kicked her binky habit. It wasn't easy, and there may have been some bribery involved. But she's been binkie-free for one solid week, so I'd say we're in the clear.

The first night was particularly terrible. The poor thing just didn't think she could sleep without it and was utterly distraught. Todd and I took turns going into her room to try to calm her down. Once she settled down a bit Todd went in, dried her tears, and asked if she wanted to pray about it. She said yes, so he began to ask Jesus to help her relax so she could drift off to sleep. As he was finishing the prayer, Ava added, "And please bring back my binkie!"

I clearly have some work do. Pray for me?

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:21, 22 NIV)

It's finally official! We can share our big news: Todd has been appointed to two churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference beginning July 1.

The first church is Tiskilwa Community Church in Tiskilwa, Illinois. It's 5 miles from Princeton, Illinois, the town in which the girls will go to school.

We will live in the parsonage in Tiskilwa. It is a beautiful old house built in the early 1900s. The entire area is charming and historic. There is an Amtrak stop in Princeton. I can't wait for visitors!

The second church Todd will serve is Sheffield United Methodist in Sheffield, Illinois, just under 20 miles away from Tiskilwa. It is also a charming town with kind people and an exceptional restaurant called ZBest Cafe. We ate there with Todd's parents on Saturday. It was awesome!

Our family met with members of the two rural congregations on Saturday. It was easy to see that our arrival in town was an answered prayer for all of us. Tiskilwa and Sheffield were praying for a young family to come and lead their churches. We have been praying all along for God to place is where He needs us, when He needs us.

Remember that Amtrak stop I mentioned earlier? It might really come in handy for Todd, since he'll be commuting to Garrett for the next year to finish up seminary. It is our hope that I'll be able to take a year off teaching to stay at home with the girls and help them transition to new schools, towns, and churches. Not to mention an entirely different pace of life.

Our lives are about to change dramatically. For my Michigan peeps, the only comparison I can give is that this move will be like going from the Detroit suburbs to "up north". But we're ready. God has made a way for us. And we will faithfully and enthusiastically follow.

Click below to see some pictures:

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's up ahead?

Imagine diving down a beautiful country road. It's bright and sunny. It's spring, so the trees are budding and blooming. The fields are freshly planted. The breeze blows the scattered puffy clouds along the big blue sky. It's perfect.

You've not driven this road before. It winds east and west, sometimes sharply. It goes up and down through the valleys. You can feel your stomach drop at the top and bottom of each hill.

The road is barely wide enough for one car to pass through. You begin to wonder what might happen at the top of that next hill you're rapidly approaching. What if there is a car coming the other way? A piece of large farm equipment moving slowly up ahead? A pedestrian walking his dog? The silent panic begins to rise in your throat. Your face gets hot, your palms sweaty.

And then you're there. You've made it safely to your destination. But you're missing 10 minutes of the ride. Where did your mind go?

That just about describes the ride from our potential new home in a tiny country town in Illinois to Todd's parents' house this week. What started out as a pleasant drive through the prairie ended in a stressful few moments for me. No one else in the car seemed bothered at all by the ride. In fact, the girls thought it was a blast! "Go faster, daddy!" was the resounding reply from the back seat, while I grabbed the door handle and closed my eyes.

I guess life is kinda like that. Everyone has their own issues and anxieties. Everyone moves at his or her own pace. Push too hard and you can create resentment and fear. Go too slow and you might miss the blessings God has planned for you.

This is an illustration of what's been going on in my life in the past few weeks. I've been praying for so long for God to show me and my family where He wants us to go but I'm afraid of the answer. I'm afraid to look over the next hill. I'm both crying out for and bracing myself against change.

But a the saying goes, "Life's a journey, not a destination." Covering your eyes on the scary part of the ride means missing half of the fun. Guess its time to just enjoy the ride secure in the faith that God's got this covered.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reaping a blessing

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9 NLT)

The last 6 years have been quite a journey. New jobs, new home, beautiful babies, lost jobs, lost home. In the midst of our despair, God spoke to to our family and set us on a new path to the ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.

Even when it was hard, we knew God had a plan, and we tried to faithfully follow. Even when it looked doubtful. Even when friends and family expressed concern, fear, or doubt. We kept moving towards our goal.

This time last year--Holy Week--we were moving into a new, but temporary, home. This year during Holy Week we received confirmation that we will be making another move soon.

We will be traveling to central Illinois this week to meet with the congregations Todd has been appointed to in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. We will see the parsonage that we will be blessed to occupy. We'll check out the schools Maddie and Ava will attend. We have a lot of decisions to make and ask for your prayers at this exciting and overwhelming time.

God is good!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A few more updates...

Only a few more days until I return to Facebook from my Lenten fast. Looking forward to catching up with everyone again! In the meantime, here are a few gems from the past few weeks:

-When Ava's got an upset stomach, she says he has a "tummy egg."
-I can not type i or o correctly on my iPhone to spell words like "if" and "or". It took me 3 tries to type this sentence.
- I can accomplish almost anything with 10 minutes and a silent classroom.
-I have ugly knees.
-Throwing/dropping a baby doll is always funny, according to my girls.
-Maddie has gone through nearly 2 rolls of tie dye duct tape in less than 24 hours.

And here's a little girlie cuteness to tide you over until Easter Sunday.