Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Tonight was session 9 of our Esther study. Our last one. I'm bummed. But blessed.

This has been one of the BEST Bible studies I've ever been a part of, let alone led. I have grown so attached to my sweet sisters in this study. Beth Moore of course, taught us tons, but I think the emphasis on all things woman-dom just made the learning that much richer. And the fact that I actually exercised my gift-giving love language. I had such a blast finding small girly treats for my ladies.

And we had such a wide range of women in this group - several who had never done an in-depth study with us. Soooo fun to have people who haven't heard all my stories. We had an 80 year old still married. Several 60ish and 70ish - some married, some widowed. We had some 40ish and 50ish, married and divorced. We had some 20ish and 30ish still raising sweet little ones - or waiting for them to come. We even had a barely 20 year old - my first precious girl who came through my high school Sunday school class to do one of our 'big girl' studies - I can't even tell you what that meant to me. SO PRECIOUS to have time with her in the Word again. Thank you, Shelby, for being a part. We had some ladies who know more about the Word than I will likely ever learn in my lifetime, so for them to put up with me is an amazing little miracle in itself. That is truly humbling. As is having my older sister who is my hero be a part of the group.

It has been an incredible ride. As part of the study, Beth referenced Ecclesiastes 3:11 - The first part about "He has made everything beautiful in its time." But the verse goes on to say, "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." I thought the second part of the verse was very appropriate for tonight. Because eternity is set in my heart, it doesn't like goodbyes. Actually avoids them. Not good at them at all...turns into the ugly cry pretty fast. So tonight that is what happened. I struggled with the goodbye of it. How I love feasting on the Bread of Life...and how I hate when the party ends.

The good news? The last part of the verse - we still can't fathom what God is going to do with this investment. And We WILL be doing something else together...Can't wait to see what He has in store for us.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ahhhhhh....spa day

Today was a wonderful day for me. Last fall, my staff gave me money and a ticket to Christmas Magic, which resulted in a gift certificate for some spa treatments. So today, I had a 30 minute massage, a 30 minute facial, a pedicure, a deep conditioning treatment for my hair and a style (the package came with a partial highlight and a cut, but seriously, I don't want anyone's concoctions or scissors except Diana's touching my hair.) Honestly, the massage worked out all the knots in my shoulders, where there are always many and the facial was probably one of the gentlest, most relaxing I have ever had.

I could go on, but I'm too relaxed to keep typing. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

They've migrated...

Through an unexpected turn of events, I am currently listening to four very silly girls laugh, discuss, and argue (just a bit) while they play Apples to Apples. We are celebrating McKenna's birthday which was actually last Wednesday, but spring break offered the perfect opportunity for a sleepover. The only problem - it wasn't supposed to be HERE!!! My sister had planned the party and all the girls were supposed to be at her house. However, on Sunday, she stepped off the porch and broke her ankle. Coward...I think she did it on purpose. (Just kidding. But I must admit my suspicion. She has never been much on large crowds of kids.)

So anyhoo...she had a little day of fun scheduled for them. A trip to the local salon for finger and toe nail painting, getting their hair done and a little make-up applied. So we did that yesterday afternoon. Great fun! Then we came back to my house and they have sufficiently enternained themselves without anyone getting their feelings hurt, nothing being broken, no major arguments, and not even any tv/dvd watching (which I even rented some dvds for...just in case).

We have two 6th graders, a 5th grader, and a 4th grader. They are all sweet girls and so far...so good.

As for McKenna ~ she is a puzzle for me. She is so different from her sister, and honestly, from so many 'little' girls I have watched grow up. I think what makes it so unusual is her maintenance of her innocence. She is now 12 years old and in junior high in a small town. Tough age - usually the age where you really aren't happy with just being that age - you know, where they really want to be older, and certainly don't want anything to do with anything associated with 'little girl'. McKenna, however, seems to be pretty happy being 12. She doesn't ask or seek to do, act, or dress, like older girls. There are things she wants to do that are age appropriate, and then there are things that she really doesn't mind being seen as a 'little' girl. I thought yesterday as I watched two girls - 8th graders- come into the salon to tan, "I wonder how many of her 6th grade friends would die before being seen as 'playing' with the hair and make-up party." Certainly not all of them, put several names came to mind of girls who would either make fun of it or wouldn't be caught dead doing it. It really makes me sad. Girls are pushed to grow up so quickly...and not in very healthy ways.

So today, as I hear my "baby" - who isn't really a baby!- laugh and giggle with her friends - with a laugh that is incredibly contagious. Hurray for her. And hurray for all the young ladies who are like her - okay with just being the age they are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God's Providence :)

This is too cool. Seriously.

Okay, bear with me while I set the stage. We are in the middle of the Esther Bible study written and led by Beth Moore - Thank You, Father, for a teacher who GETS You and GETS women. What a blessing she is as Your vessel. This study really is a study in the amazing providence of God and, in Beth's words, 'some mighty good theology' of knowing God's presence is always with us even when we can't see Him or feel Him. We got a little taste of that tonight.

As the facilitator, I have been trying to come up with little gifts that tie in to the study for our ladies -things that have to do with parties or entertaining, beauty treatments, just girly-girl things. Like candles (who ever has a party without lighting candles!!), bracelets, picture clips with a star (one of the Hebrew meanings for Esther), etc... I bought padded hangers to give them, but have literally hauled them in 3 - count 'em THREE times - only to forget to give them to them. I get way too caught up in the whole Bible study thing! :)

One of the things the study has used as a central theme is focusing on scenarios that complete the statement, "It's tough being a woman..." and then the blank gets filled in with different situations where it can be really tough being a woman.

Okay - now stay with me- the good part is coming.

Today is March 10. It is Purim on the Jewish calendar - which is the celebration of the 'reversal of destiny' experienced by the Jews when Esther's actions saved them from complete annihilation. So I thought that was cool- to be studying the event while it really is occuring - but...GET THIS - Tonight was session 7 of the series - the night when Beth starts teaching us the way our Sovereign God reverses all of those "It's tough being a woman" scenarios for us!!!! SOOO...we are studying our own reversals during this celebration of Purim - Don't tell me we aren't God's adopted children!

AND as if that weren't enough, someone pointed out that they were given lovely, perfumed, padded hangers on the night we talked about Haman's hanging!! I know, it is one of those things that your thinking, "I guess you just had to be there." And you may be right, 'cause those precious ladies and I got a big ol' kick out of those little kisses from God tonight!!! We just giggled and oohhed and aahhed Him!!!

His timing - ALWAYS right!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Youth Sunday

I've been waiting to post this because I was supposed to get some pictures sent to me that I wanted to post with it. 'Cause the last thing I was thinking about was pictures or a camera!!!..but no pics, delayed post, yadda-yadda.

I'm pushing on.

Sunday morning was an amazing day for our kids. We had one of our guys read a beutiful piece of scripture out of Psalms then pray. Another young man did the welcome. The guys leading praise and worship were awesome. And our sweet girls who had practiced so long for creative movement NAILED IT!!! We even had several of our guys act as usher and they didn't even drop the offering plates or anything!! :)

Then, sweet Zack took the pulpit and delivered a message. He was funny, charming, humble, and I must say brave. It's tough to get up in front of people and speak...let alone be a junior in high school and get up in front of your church on a Sunday morning...with a full house I might add. They even had to bring in extra chairs. Zack did a fabulous job.

Then my precious boy, Corbin, got up and did announcements. He cracks me up! He even announced the birth of his second cousin, but just introduced him by name and said, "I know he's a relative, but I don't really know what he is to me." Perfect.

All in all, the kids did a great job, but more than anything, God was awesome!
Congratulations to a great group of kids, and to God be the glory!!

And now, we get ready for Spiritual Preparation Weekend starting tomorrow night. And just wait until Sunday morning. My guy is going to sing a very special song. Can't wait!!