K.I.S.S.--Keep It Simple, Stupid

A woman's walk through marriage, parenthood, servanthood and the family of God.





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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

 
You find the coolest stuff when you clean

Matt dumped everything out of the old computer desk into a laundry basket last night. What a mess. I've been sorting through it all morning.....throwing away a ton of stuff, organizing what's left and finding some amazing things I'd saved. I think I'm going to share a few of them here.

This is something that helped me through a rough time and I'm glad I found it, because I needed the reminder.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

FOR A REASON

When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

FOR A SEASON

When people come into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But only for a season.

FOR A LIFETIME

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/persons (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.


posted by Stacy at 10:45 AM

 
Happy New Year!

Tim had to work today. The kids and I are just hanging out not doing much of anything, though later I will have to prepare our share of the food for tonight's party with the group of people we've been hanging out with from my workplace. Megan will go with us. Matt would rather hang out with his cousins and play video games all night.

I've added a new link: Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life.

By the way, the new computer desk and chair are sweet! Thank you, Tim and Matt for staying up late last night and putting them together.

posted by Stacy at 8:22 AM

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

 
Windfall

Woohoo! Ya gotta love finding an unexpected check in the mail.

A couple of months back we got a letter inviting us to join in a class-action lawsuit against Household Finance/Beneficial. Seems they'd been charging loan customers too much for some type of insurance or the insurance was worthless or some such thing. We went ahead and filled out the papers, but didn't really expect much to come of it. We'd been through the same thing with a furniture store we'd financed through a while back and our settlement in that case was something like $2 and some change.

Yesterday we got a check.

For $932.68!!

We splurged on a new computer desk and chair. The rest goes for new tires for Tim's truck and whatever else it needs to pass inspection.

Nice.

posted by Stacy at 5:27 PM

Sunday, December 28, 2003

 
Feeling a bit weird
sitting at home on a Sunday morning, but this is the first week of the break we've decided to take from church. We need this time to lick our wounds, rest, and get away from the pressures of leadership for at least a time.

Everything is still up in the air as far as what we will ultimately do. The outpouring of love and support from people in the church (including one letter from a family that strongly opposed what happened in general and Tim and I in particular) has caught us off guard and possibly made us waiver in our decision. Tim still says he doesn't plan to return, but when he talks about the church it is always about its future and the things that need to be done and the things he hopes are done. Maybe it's just a case of him having a hard time letting go. I pray these next few weeks will help us reach a decision we can be sure is God directed. Our own emotions are so raw right now that I don't think we can be sure what is God and what is our own feelings.

I've spent some time making the rounds of some Christian blogs this afternoon and I've read some really good stuff that's given me a lot to think about. I'm grateful for the Christian blog community.

This afternoon we are going to the home of a woman I work with. The friendships I've been trying to cultivate among my co-workers are finally beginning to take root and Tim seems to be hitting it off with the husbands as well. Why are we so desirous of friendships with these people? Because as Tim said, with them we can be ourselves. With our church friends there is always that unspoken understanding that we all wear our masks of perfection. We don't feel able to show any weakness and always being on guard gets tiring.

posted by Stacy at 1:07 PM

Friday, December 26, 2003

 
We had a great Christmas
with family and friends and are enjoying these much needed days of down time.

Christmas Eve the kids and I spent the morning cleaning and wrapping and getting things done as much as possible. Tim didn't get home from work until 2:30 so we were a little late for getting together with his family. They had already eaten by the time we got there, so after exchanging gifts they didn't hang around much longer. All had other places to go or church services to get to.

Our own Christmas Eve service was beautiful....and what a difference it has made in the church since our pastor resigned. He has only been gone a week and a half and the atmosphere has changed dramatically. Last year the service was sparsely attended by only 40 people. This year there were 110 present. It's still a far cry from the standing room only crowds of a few years ago, but it's wonderful to see it coming back. Anyway, the service consisted of church youth doing readings and special music by church members. It's a candlelight service and the whole sanctuary is decked out in pointsettias. Very beautiful. Once again we found ourselves surrounded by well-wishers expressing their support and love for our family and asking us to stay. Tim hasn't really said much on that other than one small comment......"Maybe people do care."

After church we got together with a group of church friends as we do every Christmas Eve. We are a rag-tag group who have little or no family in the area or just don't have good relationships with our families. Some of the faces change from year to year, but the core group stays the same. We take turns hosting. It's a tradition started by good friends of ours, who unfortunately moved from the area a couple of years ago.

Yesterday Tim and I woke up before the kids and got to have the fun of waking them up. We had the morning to ourselves and my mom, her husband and my grandmother joined us around noon. My aunt was too sick to get out. It was all very low key and relaxing (just what we needed). The kids were more than pleased with their gifts...and they are growing up. There was no asking if that was it this year. The favorite gifts? For Matt it was the 19" television for his room so he can play video games all he wants and for Megan it was the game Cadoo. We have played it endless times already. Tim and I are feeling blessed as well. Our most notable gift has to be the one from my mom. We had to borrow the money for a new refrigerator from her a couple of months back. For Christmas she forgave the loan and stuck a big red bow on the refrigerator! Tim also got a home theater system and palm pilot. I got the massager I've been wanting, a printer/copier/scanner (New Years' resolution: learn how to use it) and a gift certificate to go clothes shopping.

Most likely we will just be puttering around here today and eating leftovers. Nice.

posted by Stacy at 9:38 AM

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

 
WISHING YOU AND YOURS A VERY BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

posted by Stacy at 7:36 AM

Monday, December 22, 2003

 
Yesterday
was another emotional rollercoaster ride for me when it came to church. I was fine all last week. I'd come to terms with leaving and was actually maybe a little excited about it. I went into church yesterday knowing it was my last Sunday. I aso went alone because Tim had to work. Then from out of the woodwork came all kinds of people, even people I've never personally had a conversation with before, begging for our family not to leave. They were weepy and huggy and warm and loving and supportive....and all the rest of the things I've not been on the receiving end of for at least a couple of years. When I went to the alter during prayer time I found myself surrounded by women who prayed and cried with me and held me while I cried. After church I was surrounded by a group of friends/church leaders and they expressed much sadness at our decision and pledged that they would not let us go. They are going to mount a campaign to change Tim's mind. It began last night when we went to the Sunday school Christmas program with many shaking his hand, hugging him and thanking him for what he did and with tears from the women and hearty slaps on the back from the men. It continued with phone calls at home. I admit it was wonderful to feel that loved and cared for, but I have to ask....

Why NOW?

Why after all this time and when I've made my peace are they pouring out love on us? It was the first Sunday since the pastor left. Does his absence make a difference? Do they suddenly feel free to show support? Or does it have anything to do with the associate pastor announcing his resignation yesterday?

Tim accepted it all very graciously and thanked everyone, but otherwise, he has been silent not saying one way or another if this is affecting his decision or not.

I just know that I need to know one way or the other. I can't continue on this path of emotional upheaval. The stress is unbearable and I was just sick with it yesterday.

posted by Stacy at 10:46 AM

Sunday, December 21, 2003

 
Arrr...it be the pirates' life for me

and for a mere $200-$300 you too can be stepping out in swashbuckling style. Click here to find the finest collection of pirate footwear a landlubber like yourself will ever see.

posted by Stacy at 8:03 AM

Saturday, December 20, 2003

 
Merry Christmas!....and he means it

Bryan over at Clarity Amidst Chaos wrote a great piece about why he says Merry Christmas and means it.

posted by Stacy at 12:51 PM

 
SCARY!!

Megan and I had a brush with "Christmas cheer" this morning. We dropped Matt off at Wendy's for his shift and continued several miles down the road to another shopping center. I had no sooner pulled into a parking space than a pick-up truck jerked to a halt right behind me and a big, hairy guy jumped out, slammed his door and started stalking around the car. He was bending over to look at things and touching it here and there. It kind of freaked me out, but I cautiously got out to see what his problem was. Big mistake! As soon as I got out he started screaming at me, interjecting the f-word about everyother word, saying I had cut him off clear back at Wendy's and that he wanted to make sure I hadn't hit his truck. I am sure I didn't cut anyone off at Wendy's but I apologized anyway. His response? He jumped back in his truck and peeled out......after telling me I was f-ing stupid. Nice. It kind of rattled me and it really upset Megan. So, we got back in the car and prayed for him before we went in the store. We prayed that whatever is stressing him to the point of acting out like that would be relieved and that someone would introduce him to Jesus this Christmas. Made us feel better. I hope it does something for him, too.

posted by Stacy at 12:21 PM

 
What the heck?

Tim had to work today so I was up with him at 4:30, but I wasn't prepared for the kids to be up before 6:00 on a Saturday. I have the animals in this house to thank for that.

At about 5:30 Scooby, our poodle, went in to get in bed with Megan, but rather than going to sleep he started barking his head off. Why? Turning on the lights and poking around (no easy task....and if you have pre-teens or teens then you know what their rooms are like) revealed that Patrick, the hamster also known as Jabba the Hut, had escaped his cage. Apparently at some point in the night the little rodent managed to get out of his cage, crawl down the dresser and have free run. I held the dog while the kids chased him in circles around the room. They didn't catch him until he crawled up on the bed.

Now I've got to figure out a way to make the cage escape proof, because now that he's learned how to get out, he'll do it again.

posted by Stacy at 6:41 AM

Friday, December 19, 2003

 
Found in my e-mail.

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me...

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke &John.
The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the-Old Testament.
The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
The ten lords a-leaping--the ten commandments.
The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there Is your history for today.

This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.


posted by Stacy at 11:46 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2003

 
IT'S A WRAP!
or at least it needs to be as soon as I quit playing around on the computer. My bedroom is stacked high (and rather precariously) with Christmas gifts all awaiting wrapping paper and bows. I put the job off like this every year. It is my absolute least favorite part of the whole deal. All that work. All that money. And what does it last? Two seconds? Anyway, I have to get it done not only for mobility's sake, but also so I can stop worrying about whether or not the kids are snooping.

In church news....
the associate pastor of our present/soon to be former church called Tim last night to tell him that he'd accepted a position with another church. Smart man. I wish him well.

My heart aches for the church. They will have no real spiritual leadership. It does not, however, tempt us to stay. We both know if we did we'd be called on heavily to serve and we are both the type that would say yes even at the cost of our own spiritual and emotional health. So, if anything, this has solidified our decision to leave.

posted by Stacy at 11:22 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

 
UGH!

This was a rough day! It's been cold and snowy all day...beginning with a freak mini blizzard this morning just as the buses were heading out to start their routes.

If I haven't mentioned it, my route is very rural. Lots of hills and bumpy backwoods roads.

I knew it wasn't a good sign when I went down my first hill virtually sideways. I kind of went up the next one the same way. And so it went. I did pretty well. For a while. My route came to a halt when the back of the bus fish-tailed and the rear wheel landed in a ditch.

We had to wait about 45 minutes for the calvary (otherwise known as the mechanics) to arrive, throw some ash under the wheels, hook a chain to the front and pull it out.

The kids thought it was great.

I need to buy a box of hair color to hide the new crop of gray that sprouted.

posted by Stacy at 6:26 PM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

 
Nothing Like It

I was not having a good morning. I was running late. There was another run-in with my mom. The car doors were frozen shut. Christmas is only 9 days away. And probably worst of all, I was dwelling on our church circumstances and really getting down. I was pretty depressed about what an emotional and spiritual toll this church has taken on us. I don't want to get into for-instances. It's enough to know that Tim and I are leaving pretty much feeling that there is nothing in us that is worth loving, caring for or ministering to because even though we served with all our hearts we haven't experienced any of those things coming back in to us. It's not that we serve to get something out of it, but you can't give and give and never be ministered to yourself. It's been a very long time (years) since anyone has reached out to us.

Ok, so that was my mood and my deep dark thoughts this morning. I was not a happy camper. My exact prayer this morning was "Fix me." Then I talked with Debbie, one of the other drivers who is usually the ray of sunshine in everyone's day. She was feeling as low or lower than I was and stressing over the holidays, her family, etc. I hated seeing her that way and tried to give her some encouragement. I don't think I helped, but once I got home I came up with the idea of doing something to cheer her up so I put together a care bag of things to pamper herself with.....bubble bath, chocolates (that I made), a mellow cd, candles and a funny Christian book about marriage and its challenges. In the card I wrote directions for pampering herself and giving herself a stress-free evening to just relax. I can't wait to go back to work and give it to her. It's sure to cheer her up.

And my problems? Hadn't thought about them again until now. It's true what they say. There is nothing like doing something for someone else to take your mind off your own problems.

posted by Stacy at 12:44 PM

Monday, December 15, 2003

 
Not quite a snow day...

We only got a two-hour delay this morning. I don't normally like those. Seems like they put my entire day out of whack, but I enjoyed the extra sleep today. I stayed up too late last night watching (finally) Pirates of the Carribean. It's a great action/adventure film and rather funny, too. I also think there are some lessons to be found in it to use with youth.....

....the love of gold/money is NOT good.

....don't judge a person by appearances (Jack Sparrow was a pirate, but not a bad guy).

....forgiveness. The commodore is always wanting to hang Jack because he's a pirate which is an offense punishable by death no matter what. In one scene he defends his stance saying "One good act does not make up for a lifetime of piracy." And Jack responds, "No, but it's enough to condemn him to death."

posted by Stacy at 9:15 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2003

 
Oops!

I forgot to mention last night's company Christmas extravaganza. Not bad. Except for the fog of cigarette smoke hanging over everything and working into every fiber of our clothes and clinging to our hair, skin, etc. Yuck. There were some that were really putting the drinks away, but no one's behavior got out of control. It was fun. There was a DJ and a lot of people danced. We did dinner as a covered dish and there was more food than at a church pot luck! We sat with a woman who is my closest friend at work and her husband, who just happens to be one of Tim's best friends from high school so Tim even had a good time. Better than at some of his own we've gone to. I think maybe we've made a couple of new friends, too. Good news right now.

posted by Stacy at 6:39 PM

 
Church was

comparable to an episode of the Twilight Zone today. We have been getting wet, icy snow all day so attendance was way down for our sr. pastor's last day.

He preached a good sermon on keeping focused on the important thing. He spoke personally at the end and spoke well of the church and admonished everyone to move past what has happened and get on with business. He asked everyone to speak kindly of him as he would always speak kindly of us (too bad I know that is already not true).

Everyone was weepy. Myself included when it came time to say official goodbyes after the service. Very weird to be hugging and crying with the family and exchanging best wishes and encouragement for the future when I know Pastor and his wife blame Tim completely and have not been shy about expressing that opinion to others in private. How do I know? You know how things said in private don't stay there in a church (at least they don't here).

Adding even more to the whole twilight zone effect was finding out people had already heard we are leaving. I have told three people. My friend....and she is out of town for the weekend and can't be the source. A quiz coach from another church.....and I trust her completely. The regional director because I had to let him know I was resigning as quizzing coordinator for the region. My money is on him having told the leadership.

At any rate, word is out and will be spreading quickly. We haven't even composed our letters of resignation yet.

On a happier note...

After church we took the kids out for dinner and to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. I am now almost done. Yea!! It was a nice afternoon. We're just hanging out now doing our own things. In a bit Tim and I are heading out to a viewing for a relative's father. We don't know the man or any of the family except Tim's aunt and her husband (son of the deceased) so it will be a quick in and out.

Hoping for a snow delay or entire snow day tomorrow.


posted by Stacy at 6:14 PM

Saturday, December 13, 2003

 
Bummer

Matt's not getting the car after all. The guy called this morning and said he couldn't get it started, that he'd bring it over this afternoon. He called back about half an hour later and said it had a cracked head and he wouldn't sell it to Matt. At least he's being honest.....I hope.

posted by Stacy at 2:15 PM

 
Today in my exciting life....

...the never ending battle of the laundry continues.

...it's time to get busy making molded Christmas chocolates.

...the dogs get bathed.

...I accept delivery of Matt's first car. He paid for it himself. $300. It's a (and no, I'm not kidding) 1981 AMC Spirit. Mustard gold. Inside and out. One previous owner. Only 62, 000 miles. Ugly but solid. Two years from classic status.

...digest the news that Matt and Holly are all of a sudden "taking a break" from each other as boyfriend and girlfriend...but they're still best friends and will do most of the same stuff that they did before. (rolling eyes)

...Tim and I are going to my company Christmas party. Should be interesting. This is my first year. I hear the booze flows plentiful and I hear one of the females got drunk enough last year that she did a pretty good pole dancing show. Had the men on the edges of their seats and raised speculation about her previous employment. She isn't driving this year, but I hear she's attending the party. By the way, I now have her bus route. My oh, so funny co-workers asked if I would be taking her place at the party, too. The answer is NO! I can guarantee there wouldn't be enough alcohol behind the bar to get me to do that.

posted by Stacy at 8:31 AM

Friday, December 12, 2003

 
Friday Five

1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays? Yes. It just seems to feel more like Christmas when there is snow. Must be all those sappy holiday movies I watch.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect? My ideal celebration includes Christmas Eve at church and time spent at home with a combination of family and good friends.

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions? Making chocolate candies,baking cookies, decorating the day after Thanksgiving, church on Christmas Eve followed by getting together with church friends, presents at the crack of dawn (thanks kids), lying around in pj's until it's time to get dinner ready.

4. Do you do anything to help the needy? I drop money in every red Salvation Army kettle I come across, donate to the annual fund-drive for Children's Hospital, some times I donate to Toys for Tots or pick an angel from an Angel Tree. This year I helped raise funds, buy and wrap gifts for the neediest kids in the school districts serviced by the bus company I work for.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?
A massage.



posted by Stacy at 12:56 PM

 
Another Step Taken
I told the person I am closest to in the church about our decision last night. She was maybe a little upset, but said she understood our need to step away from the situation after being in the thick of things for so long. She promised continued support, friendship and prayer.

posted by Stacy at 12:52 PM

 
It figures.

If you're going to have same sex marriages, then you're going to have these.

posted by Stacy at 12:47 PM

 
Sorry
about the double post. I deleted one and it doesn't show up in the posting section of my Blogger account, but I can't seem to get it to go away on the actual blog.

posted by Stacy at 12:45 PM

Thursday, December 11, 2003

 
Update

I've decided that I am going to leave my current church at the end of the month. We've talked with Matt and Megan. They are sad (as Megan said, it's the only church they've ever known) but maybe just a little bit excited about the prospect of finding a church with lots of kids and a good youth group. It wasn't an easy decision to make, especially with all that happened yesterday. So, what happened? Wellllll......

1. I had a long phone conversation with the associate pastor about the future of the youth program. He pretty much let me know that he'd be dropping a lot of the responsibility back in my lap as he assumes the role of sr. pastor. I was expecting that. It was what I'd been wanting after being stripped of nearly all association with the youth, but not now. His faith in me rings hollow when I know nothing would have changed had he not been facing "more important" duties.

2. The associate also praised Tim and I profusely for our behavior in all of this and the grace we've shown. He said he knew we'd taken a lot of unfair criticism and blame and he appreciated the steady hand we'd shown in allowing everything to just roll off us and that we'd been an excellent example of how the leadership should act.

3. I sat in on the quiz practice last night. I didn't have to be there, but I wanted to. There are only three kids left. One is mine. Another is from a family that is leaving the church so I don't know if he will continue quizzing either. They had a great time!

4. I stayed to see what would happen with the bible study. I had two there and we had a good time, but I wouldn't say their hearts were in it last night. Still, I never thought the one would stay.

So, there was all this positivity going on yesterday at the same time I'm finalizing my decision to leave. I felt like a crumb letting the associate go on and on about his plans and what he wants me to do. I didn't play to them, but I didn't tell him we're leaving, either. There's a reason for that. Sunday is the sr. pastor's last day. When the 11:00 service is over he is done. We don't want word of our leaving to get out before then because of the way so many feel about us right now. We are afraid that the gossip, rumor and whatever would run rampant and overshadow pastor's last day, because we know that there are going to be people who will be extremely upset and asking why didn't we just leave before rather than making the pastor resign. Why indeed? Because we love this church and care about the members and it was the right thing to do for the future of the church and because we had hoped we wouldn't have to leave and because in spite of what the rumor mill is saying, the two of us alone certainly didn't force the pastor's resignation. There was a very large group of unhappy people. Tim just ended up speaking for them because of his position as an elder.

Anyway........we will be giving the associate our letters of resignation Sunday after the 11:00 service. I hate the timing, but there is a quiz event Sunday afternoon and I will be telling the quiz coaches of my resignation so they can begin searching for a replacement. I don't want the associate to find out there.

The women's group I belong to is having its Christmas party tonight. I hope to be able to speak privately following it to the one woman I consider a true friend. I owe it to her to tell her before it goes public as well. I'm not sure what this will do to our annual Christmas Eve get together with people from church. We may not be welcome.

So that's where we are.

posted by Stacy at 10:37 AM

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

 
I have to make a decision

about my future in our church. Tim came home from the council meeting last night tired and disgusted by the attitudes. He said he told council how disappointed he is with the hate, slander and blame being slung by Christians. He told me that December 31 is his last day at the church. He has said the same thing before (different dates) but I've always talked him out of it or found someone who could. I'm not going to do that this time. I'm afraid staying will hurt him more than leaving. Does he plan to go somewhere else? Not for a while. He still loves the Lord, but he is completely turned off by the church. I don't know what to do. Tim says he doesn't expect me or the kids to leave and that he doesn't want us to if we want to stay. The thought of leaving makes me sick, but so does the thought of staying. I don't know that there is really anything to hold me here other than history. These days I don't have any relationships with the members that extend past Sunday morning. The youth group has disintegrated. Oh, I hear I'm to blame for that. Someone resigned last night and one of the things they ripped apart in their letter was the youth program (or rather the lack of one). People just don't know. My name is still out there officially as the youth director, but when we hired the associate, he slowly but surely edged me out of things. I used to teach Sunday school. They told me I had to give that up because I was too over worked. I used to coach Bible quizzing. I had to give that up because the sr. pastor's wife wanted to do it. I led Sunday night youth group. The associate and his wife wanted to do that. I'm left with Wednesday nights and if I'm lucky 4 kids show up. Two of those were the pastor's kids so I'm guessing that is done now as I know one of the two remaining won't come without them. The congregation doesn't know this. They just see my name with the title attached in the bulletin every week.

One thing I have decided is that I'm going to turn in an official resignation as youth director and also for my regional positions. I feel very strongly that God is telling me it's time to leave youth ministry. What I don't know at this point is if that is for good or what is next. I need to heal myself and help my family heal from the beating this church has given us over the last several years. The next question I have to answer is can I stay in this church and do that or do I need to move on. If I move on, I will be giving up my denomination because there are no other churches close enough to be practical.

Do you know what bothers me the most? Thinking about this: If I am this conflicted, torn and hurt after only 11 years in the church, what must it have been like for the people who had been members for 20, 30, or even 40 years who came to a point where they felt like they had no choice but to leave? And the leadership turned away from their concerns saying the church would be better off without them.

I need to find out what the church is meant to be. I have felt nothing but confusion for years and feel pretty sure my views are a bit warped at the moment.

There has to be something better out there.

posted by Stacy at 5:35 AM

Monday, December 08, 2003

 
I know what's missing...

Martin Roth in writing about "cybermonks" mentioned Darren from Livingroom as an up and coming. What is it that makes Darren stand out? The man is pro-active. As Roth said, he doesn't just write stuff on a blog and hope someone reads it. Darren is reaching out and creating community among his readers.

C-o-m-m-u-n-i-t-y. Community. I've been trying to figure out for a while what is missing from my church experience and now I know. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it. Community is exactly what I don't have in my church. My faith and relationship with God are always a work in progress, but I would say they're good. It's community with other believers that I need and that's why I look to my blog and the blogs of others to find those relationships.

Tim and I do all the "right" things. We extend our hospitality, accept invitations, attend all the church functions, send cards, visit, etc., but none of our relationships in church extend beyond acquaintanceship. I don't mean it to sound like there is something wrong with us. There isn't (no comments from some of you). It seems to me that the majority of the people are in the same condition. What I don't know is if it bothers them at all. I doubt it. I hear a lot of people talking about how they want more relationships and involvement among the church family, but when push comes to shove everyone seems to keep their emotional distance. We don't get "real" with each other and by that I mean we don't share what is really important to us. We don't share our hopes and dreams and disappointments. Maybe we are just afraid to appear less than perfect to our fellow Christians? I can't imagine having the types of conversations I have with my internet friends with anyone in my church.

I don't know what the problem is, but at least now I know what is at the root of the restlessness and yearning that I've been feeling. Maybe it is time to leave this church behind and find one with members who want and enjoy community?

posted by Stacy at 6:50 PM

 
Two thumbs up.

If you like Christmas music (and even if you don't) do yourself a favor and check out the new Relient K Christmas cd. I don't know if you can buy it seperately. Mine came packaged with their latest cd....and it was FREE!!

They perform some secular songs and do absolutely kickin' covers of Angels We Have Heard on High and Handel's Messiah. Silent Night is simply beautiful. My favorite, with out a doubt, is the (I think) original I Celebrate the Day, a love song to the Savior. The chorus goes like this:
"The first time that you opened your eyes did you realize that you would be my savior? The first breath that left your lips did you know that it would change this world forever? I celebrate the day that you were born to die so I could one day pray for you to save my life." Nice.

posted by Stacy at 10:53 AM

Sunday, December 07, 2003

 
Good times.

I am just reclaiming the house from the youth group Christmas party. It was a great time with lots of laughter and sharing of memories. We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Story and a video of all the kids doing the Sunday school Christmas program in 1995. We exchanged gifts, ate and had a major snowball fight. I am glad it was so much fun. It was the last time the pastor's kids will do anything with the youth group. Next Sunday morning is the end at our church for their family. The kids in the group will still see them at school and socially, but it's over at church. I probably won't see them at all. I said goodbye tonight. I'm going to miss them.

posted by Stacy at 10:08 PM

 
For your reading pleasure

I've added some new blogs to the blogroll. Check out Jamie over at Be Church, Rick at Rick & 1j13, Tina at My Imagination, Basic Blog, Sarah at Endeavors in Life, and Amy who's a Kiwi Christian.

posted by Stacy at 8:10 AM

 
Rise and Shine!

Ok, it's early on a Sunday morning, you don't have to shine yet. Go get that first cup of coffee or can of Mt. Dew and we'll try it again. (Don't you just love perky people first thing in the morning?)

The poodle got me up early this morning and if you live with pets you that you don't ignore them when they want to go out. Opening the door and getting that blast of Arctic air in the face had me fully awake and rarin' to go. I've got barbeque ribs in the crockpot and all my email is caught up. Next I'm going to tackle last night's clutter and get the house ship-shape to have the youth group over tonight. We'll be having the annual Christmas party and gift exchange as well as saying goodbye to the pastor's kids (next Sunday is their last with us) and watching Bruce Almighty.

Have a great Sunday!

posted by Stacy at 7:30 AM

Saturday, December 06, 2003

 
It's a marshmallow world.

The snow started about 4:00 yesterday afternoon and continued all night. We have about 10 inches on the ground, I'd guess. It is absolutely gorgeous!

It got bad enough last night that Matt got to come home after only 2 hours of work. We got enough snow that Tim decided not to go to work today. Yea!! Instead, he and Matt are out in the woods doing the deer hunter thing. Thank you, Lord, for this snow that kept my workaholic husband home.

Lots of domestic duties to deal with today....laundry (always laundry), floor mopping, bedsheet changing, etc. I hope to start wrapping Christmas presents, too.

Tonight is the advent dinner at church. I don't think we are going. We normally love to go, but I just cringe at the thought this year and when I told Tim last night he said he wasn't really wanting to go, either. I think we must still be in the phase of licking our wounds from the recent mess at church and need some time to recoup. Plus, it's harder for Tim. He gets a lot of slights, while the majority of people act with me as though nothing happened. Still, our social life in the church has pretty much dried up. But then, the guilt is really working on me and making me feel I should go, even though I don't want to go.

posted by Stacy at 8:25 AM

Friday, December 05, 2003

 
Cooped up and bored....

so here's an imitation Friday Five I found at Rick's blog.

PseudoFridayFive:

1) what is the first christmas gift you remember getting as a child?
A toy ironing board, iron and clothes line.

2) how would you replace "five golden rings" in the 12 Days of Christmas with something that's valuable to you (and fits the meter of the song)
Five cans of Pepsi.

3) what are you getting me for Christmas? (whoops - how did that get in there?)
Hmmm.....what would you like?

4) what was your favorite gift to give last year?
The stuff our son wanted for his drumset.

5) do you remember/still own/still use any gifts from last year?
I got mostly clothes and I wear them all the time.



posted by Stacy at 11:51 AM

 
O, the weather outside is frightful
but the glow from the computer screen's delightful. So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Just kidding.

I have to head back out there in a little while to transport those youngun's safely home. It'd go a lot better without too much of the white stuff.

If the nice weather man on Channel 4 has any clue what he's talking about it shouldn't get too bad until this evening. Then it's batten down the hatches, stop at the grocery store and buy every single gallon of milk, carton of eggs, loaf of bread and roll of toilet paper you can get your hands on because we're getting up to 10 inches of snow!

posted by Stacy at 11:43 AM

 
I'm finally reading Armageddon, the latest book in the Left Behind series. I started reading it Wednesday afternoon while I waited on the bus for the speech kids and I've limited myself to only reading when I'm waiting around in the bus......and I'm still two-thirds of the way through. The action is definitely heating up for the Tribulation Force, but what would you expect when they are only a year from the return of Christ. The stakes are higher and the book took a couple of turns I wasn't expecting (I won't tell incase you haven't read the book, but plan to). It's better written than some of the previous ones that seemed to be cranked out just to feed the fans, not so many gaps in the story.

This morning I read about one of the character's imprisonment and execution. Disturbing stuff, but it was interesting to see how LaHaye and Jenkins depicted grace and peace under pressure and the interaction between the character and God's messenger. It got me thinking, if I ever have to face my own death because of my faith, I hope I will find that same measure of peace and be able to be a living example right up to the last breath. Not that I want to be a martyr, but if ever called to be one I hope I'm a good one.

posted by Stacy at 11:06 AM

 
It sounds like me, but I hate the color.

you are darkslateblue
#483D8B

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.
the spacefem.com html color quiz


Thanks to Jen for the link.



posted by Stacy at 11:02 AM

Thursday, December 04, 2003

 
It's the end of the world as we know it....

I've shared some on this blog about my mom and the uneasy relationship I have with her. She is not an easy person to get along with as she is very judgemental and critical.....all of which usually has me feeling like a stupid, screw-up kid in her presence. It's just not pleasant, you know?

Last night was typical. She ripped me a new one because she didn't know until after school that Matt's girlfriend was staying with Megan and she wouldn't have to babysit. I got the whole lecture on how inconsiderate we all are and how she is always the last to know anything and how we take advantage of her and assume she is available. I also got threats about how maybe she just won't be available from now on.

First of all, I never, ever, assume anyone will watch my kids. I wouldn't dream of doing that. I always ask. Secondly, I did not ask my mom to watch Megan. Things had gone so badly between them this past weekend that I wasn't about to put them together again so soon. I told my mom all of this calmly. She insisted I did ask and really treated me badly.

This morning she told me she owed me an apology. She's lucky I didn't keel over right there. (Mom has never apologized to me for anything before) She admitted I didn't ask her and that she had just assumed.

Wow.

Truely, it is the end.

posted by Stacy at 6:45 PM

 
Woke up at 3:45 this morning with a headache. It's never really gone away. I've felt kind of blah all day. I was hoping for a snow day tomorrow so I could sleep, but it looks like the snow is going to hold off for the most part until tomorrow afternoon.

Great. I have yet to drive a bus in really bad weather and all the more experienced drivers have assured me that the worst driving conditions occur when it snows during the afternoon as the kids are being dismissed. Oh, yea.



posted by Stacy at 6:39 PM

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

 
How did they know I've always wanted to live here?
montana
Montana is the state for you!!!!! The population
density is 2 people per square mile :-D


What State Is Perfect For You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thanks to Bryan for the link.


posted by Stacy at 10:20 AM

Monday, December 01, 2003

 
Still on vacation
while the rest of the world returns to normal. Just one of the perks of being on the school schedule.

Why is there no school today? Because here in Pennsylvania it's the first day of buck season, silly. Tim couldn't get off work to go today, but Matt is out in the woods with my mom's husband freezing his tushy off. I hope he gets something.

Megan and I put a wreath on Tim's mother's grave and stopped by Joanne Fabrics for the materials Megan needs for a school sewing project. Did you know Joanne's discounts for school projects? I do now.

I'm supposed to be putting up the Christmas tree at this point, but I'm procrastinating for all I'm worth. Someone needs to give me a pep talk....or yell at me to get it in gear....because our livingroom is filled with stacks of storage boxes and they really need to go.

posted by Stacy at 1:38 PM

 
Home

after the "great get-away weekend." We had a good time inspite of a few little kinks in the plan....like driving north into a blizzard Friday night that dropped 6 inches of snow and ice....like finding out the only hotel we were able to book rooms in was kind of run down and out of date....like waking up Saturday to no electricity or phone service in said hotel (or in the entire town for that matter)....and no help at all from the "friendly and courteous" staff. We drove 15 or 20 miles for breakfast and found another hotel at the same time. After checking out of the still powerless (and now much colder) hotel we took our friends on a hunt for antiques in the many shops that exist between town A and town B. The route also took us past where my grandparents used to live and allowed me to do some reminiscing.

Saturday evening found us all experiencing dinner theater for the first time at the lovely Riverside Inn. Dinner was very elegant and we shared a table with a nice family that was mourning the loss of one of its members just a few weeks earlier. The show was a Christmas musical based on The Gift of the Magi and was quite good for a local production. We all enjoyed it so much that we hope to go back again in warmer weather....and hopefully manage to book rooms at the inn as well. This lovely evening was capped off with a wonderful time of prayer with our friends before we said goodnight.

We went our own ways on Sunday with Tim and I opting to go first to a huge Christmas store to view their incredible display of decorated trees. Beautiful! Then it was on to the outlet mall. We spent a good bit of time there but I only found one gift.

The kids and the dogs were glad to see us back....it was apparently a rough weekend with my mom, but that's another story.

So, it was great to get away from it all for a couple of days, but it's also good to be home.

posted by Stacy at 6:14 AM

 

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