Wednesday, December 31, 2008

hello 2009!

I began packing up Christmas 2008 this morning and realized how much I cherish every ornament on our family tree and the moments and people that they represent. I wondered...what will my family look like next year? What does 2009 have in store for us? All I can do is step into the new year with hope and confidence that no matter what lies ahead, our family (and yours) will be blessed beyond belief.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

things that make you go hmmm

A friend told me I should put this Christmas gift idea on my blog. I guess my blog has a reputation of being random, so this random idea fits.

I am not going to try to figure out why someone would want this. It's a Hug Me Pillow. You can check it out for yourself here.

I like snuggling, but this creeps me out!

Monday, December 08, 2008

fuel a soul

How often do you compliment people or give positive feedback? Probably not often enough. I know it is something I need to work on. Sometimes I have the thought but I don't always verbalize it. This is becoming more of a priority for me especially after yesterday as I witnessed the aftermath of two guy friends of mine who had received compliments that bolstered them to a higher level of feeling valued.

Guy #1 is a musician in our band and I overheard him say that when people positively compliment his music, it makes him feel good about what he is doing. As a result, his soul was fueled.

Guy #2 is one of the few MALE workers in Journeyland, our preschool ministry. Apparently a family had sent an email to church leadership, complimenting Guy#2 and his gift for working with children and the positive impact he has had on their child. He hesitated to repeat this story because he didn't want to come across as having a 'big head'. But it made him feel good about what he is doing. And guess what? It was fuel for his soul.

I wonder why people are so hesitant these days to give a compliment to others, even if it is second hand information. I believe one reason is because of their own insecurities. Or maybe they feel as though they are feeding an ego instead of fueling a soul. We are not responsible for what people do with the compliments we give them. We should give them away freely with the expectation that our words are helping build them up.

During this season of giving, why not give away the gift of kind words. I would like to present a challenge to us all: make an effort to give away three compliments every day this week. Be sincere. Be specific. Be intentional. See how many souls you can fuel.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

teddy got baptized

This is Teddy. We affectionately refer to him as Teardown Teddy because he has helped tear down equipment on Sunday mornings for several years at TrueNorth Church. Teddy is an incredible testimony and important part of TNC. Teddy was baptized this morning.

Did I mention that Teddy gets around in a wheelchair because he has no legs?

It struck me this morning what a powerful testimony Teddy could be to all of us. A man with no legs, who lends his arms at church to the best of his ability, while people with arms AND legs walk in and out without lifting a finger. Teddy also invites his friends who are far from God to church. Teddy gets it. He loves Jesus. And he wanted everyone to know it today.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

notable quotables...a new series

Allison: Mom, I'm bored.

Me: You could be studying for the SAT.

Allison: Mom, I'm twelve. I won't take it for four more years!

Me: Well it's never too early to get started!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

happy thanksmas!

It is a little confusing at our house this year during the Thanksgiving season because we have already decorated for Christmas. I had to bring a little Thanksgiving to this tree by adding Matthew's indian feather cap to the top until it is replaced with a paper star for Christmas. We have made fun of people like us before. I feel as though we have broken a very sacred rule of etiquette by decorating so early. But we will be busy the next two weekends, so we decided to go ahead and enjoy the decor a little longer this year.

We don't know whether to say Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas. So we will just say Happy Thanksmas for now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

things that make you go hmmm

A Christmas gift idea for those who have everything...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008


Jay Knotts did some breaking down of Psalm 23 this past Sunday at TrueNorth Church during the I AM series. "The Lord is my shepherd" translates in my simple mind as "The Lord is my leader."

I have had a blog post brewing in my mind for awhile, but never seemed to make sense out of it until focusing on this particular verse in Psalm. So here it goes:

Recently, our family (ten of us...including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) went on a trip to San Antonio, Texas. We utilized many forms of transportation during this trip. We took a car to Atlanta, shuttle bus to the airport, flew to Texas, and shuttle-bussed to the hotel. While in San Antonio, we took the public transit, rental cars, and boat rides. All ten of us. We were constantly counting heads and re-counting to make sure we were all together (I'm flashbacking to Home Alone in my mind now). As we were rushing through the airport on our return home , the ten of us were headed toward the baggage claim, and I was watching my seven year old son, Matthew. Considering all the modes of transportation that we had experienced on our trip, I realized that he stayed with the pack and followed every move we made. He never questioned if we were at the right gate. When we turned left, he never said we should turn right. He watched us and knew what to do at every moment. He completely trusted his leaders to take him where he needed to go. And he arrived at his destination without a glitch.

Are you a leader? Say yes. Everyone is a leader of something. But are you a trusted leader?

Do you have a leader? Nod your head. Everyone is lead by someone. But do you trust your leader?

Psalm 23 tells us that as our leader, the Lord will never lead us astray. He is not going to tell us to go east while he goes west. He leads with authority and provides security. We can have complete trust that he is taking us in the right direction.

In your circles of influence, how can you become more trusted and return that trust to others?

Friday, November 14, 2008

name this sheep

We will have a special guest appearance at TrueNorth Church - North Augusta this Sunday. Jay Knotts will be speaking and may be asking for some help from this little fella that I picked up for him from our friends at Just Beds. Ever since I brought him to my house for the weekend, he has made himself right at home. Considering we are a family who names our cats Kitty, and Kitty Kitty, and Kitty Kitty Kitty, we have no business naming this sheep. Would you help us out and leave a comment here so that we can give this sheep a unique name?
All buckled up for the ride home!

He loves Starbucks coffee in the mornings.

Some Wii action with Matthew.

He can be quite the troublemaker.

He has been complaining that he gets NO privacy.

Networking on Facebook.

He couldn't go to sleep, so I told him to try 'counting people'.

Be on the lookout for him this Sunday. Hopefully he will have a name by then!

Friday, October 31, 2008

i don't do scary

Halloween has never been one of my favorite times of the year. Probably because I'm not big on surprises or scary things. Like haunted houses. You know...the kind you don't really see anymore. The old abandoned houses that were once transformed into your worst nightmare. The kind where you had to stand outside in the freezing cold forever, pay a small admission price, and be chased out by a chainsaw-wielding maniac three minutes later. The last time I was chased out by a chainsaw, I fell face first into the grass. The guy actually put down the chainsaw and helped me up. Thanks, Chainsaw Man. Then he cranked it back up and chased me to my car. You probably heard me screaming. And that wasn't too long ago!

I don't like scary movies either. I grew up in the days of The Exorcist, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Stephen King's stuff and I watched it all. So, no thank you. I like being able to sleep with my eyes shut instead of open at night.

What I do like is the excitement of helping my kids decide on a costume and watching it come to life. I love seeing them run their little legs off across the neighborhood yards with their cousins to get another piece of candy to add to their already too-full bag. I enjoy eating chili and cornbread on Halloween night with my family. I like pumpkins and mums and candy apples.

I just don't do scary.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

where have i been?

Last weekend....with Alan's family in San Antonio.

This weekend....with my family in Blackshear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

i heart barnes and noble

Matthew and I went to the mall last night because the boy needs jeans. His knees keep busting through his pants. Being a girl and growing up with a bunch of girls, I don't understand how this happens. One minute the pants are fine, the next minute...there's a knee coming through. But this is not the point of my post.

As we were leaving the mall and circling the mall property, there was a huge glow that lit up the sky, pointing straight to heaven. There was lots of excitement and movement around the area. I thought maybe Jesus had come back. But no, it was the next best thing....Barnes and Noble had finally opened up at the mall.

I suddenly realized how URGENT it was that I go inside IMMEDIATELY and get a book that Allison needed. As Matthew and I entered the store and were greeted by people welcoming us to the 'preview party', I thought I heard a choir of angels singing. But actually it was a couple of guys on acoustic guitars, playing Nirvana's About a Girl. Clifford the Big Red Dog and Hurbee the Clown were in the children's area. Workers were offering me fresh baked chocolate chunk cookies. Story time for kids. Books galore. People everywhere. The smell of coffee. More books. More music. Somebody please lock me inside this place for a night!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

get smooshed

I got smooshed today.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I had my first official "now-that-you-are-40-you-have-to-do-this-every-year" mammogram. For my male coworkers who had to adjust our meetings around my appointment, now you know where I went. And if you are embarrassed now, you can go here.

I have a good friend who just turned 40 as well and she said she was scared to get a mammogram. Heck no, not me. If there is something wrong with me, I want to know now so I can get started on a treatment plan.

The exam was not really bad at all. It wasn't as dramatic as some women make it out to be. There was no pain involved, just awkwardness. The worst parts were the random poses and exposed flesh during the procedure. The technician was happy and smiling when I left, so I hope that's a good sign (or maybe she was laughing). Anyway, I'll find out my fate in a few days.

If you are a woman over 40, please don't waste another minute.... go get smooshed! Your future depends on it.

And don't forget to take your sense of humor with you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

addition + subtraction = balance

At TrueNorth Church recently, Steve spoke about the importance of balance in our lives. When we ADD something of value to our schedules, we should SUBTRACT something else in order to maintain balance. In these days of exorbitant gas prices, which have ADDED to our household expenses, have you found that financial SUBTRACTIONS have become necessary?

Moneysaving Mom is a website where women share their secrets of cutting grocery bills and stretching their dollars. It is an incredible resource for those who want to see SUBTRACTIONS at the bottom of their shopping receipts. I once thought I was a savvy shopper until I encountered the women who contribute to the Moneysaving Mom blog. They are strategic with reading advertisements, clipping coupons, and finding great deals. Sometimes they get something for nothing and other times they actually MAKE money! Check out the blog for creative ways to cut corners since it won't happen at the gas pump!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

journey vs. destination

I was with a group of people last week and we were sharing memories of our favorite vacations. The best memories I have of family vacations when I was growing up was not the places we went, but how we got there.

My family of five covered the southeast from Tennessee to Florida in a Ford Cobra van. Our two-toned tan and brown '70s van had it going on:

Middle bucket seats that swiveled around toward the back.
A mini refrigerator with a MARBLE top.
A bench seat in the back which converted into a bed.
Side windows with tie-back curtains.
And most important...a Georgia Bulldog tire cover and a Georgia fight song horn that was unbelievably obnoxious.

Some of my favorite memories are of my sisters and I sleeping in our pajamas in the van bed until it was time to stop for breakfast. I remember a few years of taking the training potty for my youngest sister instead of making so many pit stops for her. I remember the games, the songs we made up, the laughing, the fun, and the fighting! I remember that we rarely had a hotel reservation. It was a family decision as we rode around until we found something with vacancy at a reasonable price that had an awesome pool.

But don't ask me about Carowinds or Disneyworld or Daytona or The Grand Ole Opry, because I don't remember much. I've seen the pictures...and that's about it.

Sometimes the journey is more memorable than arriving at the destination. We miss out on so much because we keep asking the question "are we there yet?". What do you think? Maybe the journey IS the destination.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

which leader are you?

Found this on a blog that I stalk periodically. Interesting comparison between LeaderMan and Servant Leader (I condensed this a little for the sake of space).

Which one are you??

LeaderMan: Wants a platform on which to say something

Servant Leader: Has something to say


LeaderMan: Wants you to know he’s a Leader

Servant Leader: You’re not sure he knows he’s a leader


LeaderMan: Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church

Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path


LeaderMan: A great speaker, but self-described as, “Not really a people person.”

Servant Leader: Makes himself a people person


LeaderMan: Gets together with you to talk about his vision

Servant Leader: Just gets together with you


LeaderMan: Wants the right people on the bus

Servant Leader: Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it


LeaderMan: If it’s worth doing, it worth doing with excellence

Servant Leader: Not exactly sure how to even calculate “worth doing”


LeaderMan: Talks about confronting one another in love

Servant Leader: Actually confronts you in love


LeaderMan: Leads because of official position

Servant Leader: Leads in spite of position


LeaderMan: Deep down, threatened by other Leaders

Servant Leader: Has nothing to lose

Monday, September 15, 2008

need more margin

I am a person who always gets in a hurry at the last minute. I am usually breaking my neck to get places because I don't leave enough margin in my schedule for getting somewhere EARLY. You can count on me being right on time or a few minutes late. I want to do better and I am working on that!

When I am in a hurry, the law of Murphy always steps in an reminds me to slow down. Recently I was on my way to a meeting and rushed in to Walmart to quickly grab a few things, hoping not to end up in a conversation with anyone. Item number one was easy and the coast was clear with item number two. But it was that gallon of milk in the far back corner of the store that would be my challenge. As soon as I rounded the corner, there she was...the coworker from my previous job that I had not seen in about five years. I knew that I would surely be late for my meeting and I would have some explaining to do. I decided to slow down and spend a few minutes reconnecting with her.

Relationship:1 Timeliness: 0

I don't want to continue dodging people because I missed the mark on my time management. I want to be available and accessible to people. It is the only way to truly cultivate relationships.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

i have missed my brain

Wow! I almost forgot the password to my blog since I haven't posted in three weeks. I figured if I kept the Chick-fil-a post up long enough, they might consider giving me some more free chicken.

No such luck.

The reason I haven't posted is not because I don't have anything to say. It is because I have too much to say. It is a busy time of the year and a lot is going on around me. When a woman's brain is overloaded, I often use a computer illustration to explain what is happening in our heads:

Each idea or thought is like a "window" that is opened up on our brain's desktop. Lots and lots of windows. Some are minimized while others are maximized. Sometimes we get pop-ups that mess up any attempt at organizing these brain windows.

Today was one of those wonderful days that I could close out some windows completely!

I have missed my brain!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

u luv chikn yes u do

Happy Football season!

Chick-fil-a is scorin' a touchdown on Labor Day, Sept.1, by givin' away free 3-pack Chick-n-strips and Chick-fil-a sauce. All ya gotta do is wear football or collegiate logo gear and visit your local Chick-fil-a any time after 10:30am.

I luv the new Chick-fil-a sauce so much I would drink it if I could.

See u Monday....I'll be the one in the orange shirt!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

prayers of a child

Tuesday I received a text message from Kacie about being evacuated from her classroom at Clemson. Then I received a more detailed phone call from her about the tornado warning that sent the students to designated areas. As I heard the warning sirens in the background, I wanted her home so we could hide in the closet together. Instead she was in a library basement two hours away from me.

Matthew overheard my end of the conversation with Kacie and when I got off the phone he said, "Mom, I made up a prayer for Kacie and I hope it comes true."

A tornado did touch down on campus, resulting in minor damage and no injuries. Could the prayers of a seven year old little brother cause God to turn that tornado away?


I'm going to let my friend Matt take over here. Check out his blog post about how prayer changes things.

Monday, August 25, 2008

just because

"Mom, there were a lot of people crying tonight".... Allison

TrueNorth Church had a combined communion(Facedown) and baptism(Dunk'd) service last night to commemorate our 4-year anniversary. It was a great night of celebration and remembrance and crying. There were tears of joy, tears of brokenness, and tears of compassion. Even I, who have been affectionately referred to as The Tin Woman, had tears in my eyes as our pastor choked up while baptizing his youngest son.

I love my church and the environment that has been created where broken people can bring their tears to the cross in hopes of restoration and healing.

And the fact that people feel freedom to cry just because.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

right or wrong

Last Friday, we moved Kacie back to Clemson to begin her sophomore year in the Promiseland. We had to stop by a storage facility in Clemson we had previously rented to store some of her furniture and belongings. As I returned the lock and key to the office, Mr. McMuscle Shirt gave me back my ten dollar security deposit. I asked him if he had two fives. As he rolled his eyes and pulled out his fat wad of money, this is what he said to me:

"I am SO glad I am not married."

Rude. All I asked for was two fives.

Since I had just hugged my daughter goodbye ten minutes earlier , trying NOT to cry a river this time, it was not a good time for Mr. McMuscle Shirt to treat me this way. I had two choices at this point: (a) do the right thing or (b) do the wrong thing. I was already an emotional wreck and I really wanted to do (b) and go off on this guy. But I knew it would make Jesus look bad, so I decided to suck it up and do (a). So I said to him:

"You must be having a bad day".

Yes, he had. Mr. McMuscle Shirt's attitude changed. He softened up and tried to make up for his rude remark. It was a pleasant ending that could have ended up badly.

Isn't it sometimes difficult to do the right thing when it is so easy to do the wrong thing? I have done a lot of wrong things and made poor choices in my lifetime. I want to spend the rest of my life doing the right thing because I want to make Jesus look good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

team player

I have never watched the Olympics as much as I have this year. Maybe it is because our family is intimately involved in competitive swimming due to Matthew and Alan's participation. For whatever reason, it has been fun for our whole family to watch together. And it has been a much needed distraction from the upcoming political election...ugh.

We are enjoying watching superstar Michael Phelps. We study his strokes, his turns, his strategy... his face. One of the few times I have seen him smile is when his RELAY TEAM wins an event. He is serious and stoic in the individual events, but he goes NUTS for his team! He is like a little kid on the sidelines, cheering his teammates on to victory.

Isn't victory a lot sweeter when you get to share it with your favorite people?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

my apartment on wheels

My 2001 Honda Odyssey turned 100,000 miles this morning. That is a lot of driving back and forth on the North Augusta conveyor belt known as Five Notch Road. I have often referred to my van as "my apartment on wheels" because of the large amount of time I spend in it.

Alan has done his part in taking care of the maintenance and upkeep on the van. I cannot say that I have done my part. There is a big red Gatorade stain in the trunk, Matchbox cars all over the floor, scratches on the exterior where I hit some bricks and a big scratch down the back panel where I tried to take out my parents' sprinkler head. But I have no idea how the dent in the back got there....that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This van has toted a lot of groceries, lots of children, and has never stranded me. Coming from someone who said they would never drive a's to another 100,000 miles!

Monday, August 04, 2008

greater things have yet to come

Yesterday at TrueNorth Church, we said goodbye to our friends Walt and Betsy Tanner. Walt has been our student pastor for Element Student Ministries and will be moving to Fountain Inn, SC to plant Capstone Church. Walt spoke on compassion yesterday and it was the BEST message I have ever heard from him. I think Walt and Betsy will do just fine in Fountain Inn.

Another incredible part of yesterday's service was a THANK YOU video created by the Element staff. Walt has done a great job empowering and building his leaders. This is evident in the words spoken by Wesley and Brandon on the video. Stay tuned....they may let me post some footage later.

I have spent a lot of time with Walt through Element and other areas of TNC ... and I have my own THANK YOU as we say "see you later".

- THANK YOU for tapping my shoulder and asking me to lead a fuel cell and chaperone events. It has been very rewarding for me to develop a relationship with the students and hopefully help impact their lives.

- THANK YOU for letting ME tap YOUR shoulder as we volunteered our time together in the middle school canteen at lunch. Fun times...and another way to connect with the students.

- THANK YOU for sharing your creative mind with us and challenging us to dream BIG!

- My BIGGEST THANK YOU is for teaching my daughter Allison how to spend time in the Word. Since you taught the SOAP method, she reads her Bible every day and writes in her journal. This is priceless and makes me one happy parent.

North Augusta has become a better place because of Walt and Betsy.
Fountain Inn will become a better place because of Walt and Betsy.

We miss you already!

Monday, July 28, 2008

facebook has wrinkles?

Yo Facebookers:

It seems that you are becoming offended by some "older" people signing up for a Facebook account. My guess is that they do not want to embarrass you or stalk you...they simply want to network with their friends. So freaking out on your part won't be necessary.

I am also considering crossing the generational gap and creating my own Facebook page. I don't care how old you are, if you want to be my 'friend', please feel free to limit my access to your page. No big deal. Just don't 'poke' me, because I'm not sure what that means.

HOWEVER, if MY parents' generation starts signing up for Facebook, it might look like this:

Peace out,

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Summertime = Watermelon + Knife + Salt shaker

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Did you know that 2 million plastic beverage bottles are consumed every five minutes in the US?
It is easy to comprehend the number, but not what it actually LOOKS like. The picture below is a representation of 2 million bottles by multiplying the picture above.

Every five minutes. Unbelievable, isn't it?

For more visual representations of the over-consumption of Americans, check out the blog site of artist Chris Jordan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

not gonna do it

First there was Eight is Enough in the 70s/80s:
Now, there is Jon and Kate Plus Eight:
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I will not get addicted to another show with eight kids.
I won't do it.

rain, rain...

...don't go away!

Thank you God for the rain you have sent this summer. We have missed it! Not so much the thunder and lightning, but we'll take it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

second saturday on thursday

So God called my bluff this week after I wrote this post about the homeless. The timing of this opportunity could not be a coincidence. Was I ready to roll up my sleeves?

Our student ministry, Element, just returned from a mission trip to Columbia, SC (Go Camp). Their service did not end there. They came home with the idea of making bag lunches for the homeless and distributing them through downtown Augusta. The kids wanted to make an impact in our community and have a personal encounter with those less fortunate. After reading my blog post, student pastor Walt Tanner asked me if I wanted to help. How could I say no?

We had a total of 22 people, including my eleven and seven year olds, making lunches and walking the streets of Augusta. Since this project was student-lead, they made all the decisions. I didn't have to tell them what to do, they told ME what to do.

I am so proud of our Element youth! We are growing an awesome group of leaders who definitely have hearts for serving.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

how NOT to invest and invite

Conversation between Matthew and some swim buddies from an opposing team, while waiting for their event at a recent swim meet:

Matthew: What church do y'all go to?

The boys: We don't go to church.

Matthew: WHAT???? Y'ALL DON'T GO TO CHURCH!!!???

Oh boy....

more mamarazzi

My son definitely inherited his dad's swim gene. It looks like swimming will be the sport he is best at and loves doing. He just finished his first year on our local swim team which is part of the CSRA Swim League. And last night he was acknowledged as Most Valuable Swimmer in his age group. It has been so much fun watching him tear up those swimming pools this summer!

Moms have bragging rights, don't they?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

under the overpass

Just finished another book while on vacation this week. Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski is a true story about two Christian middle-class college students who felt called to purposely live on the streets as homeless men and put their faith to the test. The author and his companion Sam traveled to five major cities during a five month period with nothing but two guitars and two backpacks. The details of their journey are heartbreaking...and disgusting.

In their desperate search for food or a place to sleep, Mike and Sam were treated badly or ignored. Many times they were told to "move along". And for the majority of the time, guess who treated them worse?

Christians. Churches. Those who should be sharing Jesus' invitation of "come you who are weary". Rescue missions and a few individuals did the best they could to help, but many churches offered nothing but a closed door.

I have traveled to a few major cities (San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) where it was hard to ignore the homeless. They were screaming and dirty and I had to literally step over them. My heart broke for them, but I was scared and looked away, pretending they weren't there. I was ashamed of myself.

It makes me wonder who can be more disgusting...street people or church people?

"We hear a Christian assure someone that he will 'pray over' his problem, knowing full well that he intends to use prayer as a substitute for service. It is much easier to pray that a poor friend's needs may be supplied than to supply them". A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


So the rumors are favorite online store is coming to Augusta Mall. Buckle opens up on July 17. And for additional cool points, it is located directly across from Starbucks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My baby turned seven years old today.

I am putty in his hands.

Monday, June 23, 2008

the family y...part two

I took my first Pilates class at the Family Y last week and I think it will be one of my favorite forms of exercise. My goal is long and lean muscles and NO SWEATING. The less I sweat, the happier I am. Before I took the class I did not know what people meant when they referred to core muscles. I was introduced to mine as they were screaming at me for a couple of days after the class.

The hour long class concluded with the instructor turning off the overhead light and turning on a small lamp in the room. Soft music was playing as we rested on our mats in the dark for about five minutes. I am a person who likes to be efficient with my time, so I closed my eyes and prayed.

It was nice.

And I bet I wasn't the only one.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

the family y...part one

Laura: Alan, I'm thinking about joining the new Family Y.

Alan: You don't want to try Gold's Gym?

Laura: Isn't that a meat market?

Alan: Isn't the Y?

Laura: No...that's why it is called the FAMILY Y!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

free chikin biskit

Chick-fil-a in North Augusta is giving away a FREE Chicken Biscuit to all customers from 6:30am until 10:30am tomorrow, Friday, June 20. No coupon necessary.

Go git u one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I have always wondered how the Disneyworld powers-that-be convince some college kid to wear a heavy Eyeore costume while posing for pictures with bratty little kids in 200 degree weather in Florida. How do you make that attractive? Maybe by using some of the techniques like those from a book I just finished reading.

"Influencer" was not a fast-reading book for me...I would read a section, then re-read it to make sure I understood what I just read. But I'm glad I stuck it out because there were some great messages throughout the book. These are good!

1. People will attempt to change their behavior if (1) they believe it will be worth it (2) they can do what is required.

2. Make the Undesirable desirable. Make an activity an issue of personal significance.

3. When people are able to meet their personal standards, they feel validated and fulfilled.

4. The instant you stop trying to impose your agenda on others, you eliminate the fight for control.

5. Smart leaders accomplish great results when they replace dictates with dialogue.

6. It is wrong to assume that when people don't change, it's because they don't WANT to change.

7. Telling people to hunker down doesn't improve performance.

8. Opinion leaders are those who are most admired and connected to others. They aren't seen as using their knowledge to manipulate or harm, but to help. They rub shoulders with those who look up to them.

9. Make the Undiscussable discussable. Create an environment where formal and informal leaders encourage vital behaviors and skillfully confront negative behaviors. We should never accept the argument that it is wrong to talk openly and publicly about a problem.

10. Reward small improvements in behavior along the way. Don't wait until people achieve phenomenal results. Apparently people hand out praise as if it were being rationed, and usually only for outstanding work.

11. Watch coaches as they speak about the importance of teamwork and then celebrate individual accomplishment. Kids quickly learn that it's the score that counts, not the assist, and it turns many of them into selfish prima donnas.

12. In many companies, the only way to get fired is to get caught in a raging violation of ethics or political faux pas. If you aren't willing to go to the mat when people violate a core value (such as giving their best effort) , that value loses its moral force in the organization.

13. Make the Invisible visible. Search for subtle features from the environment that are silently driving you and others to misbehave.

14. Physical proximity affects our behaviors and relationships. If you want to predict who doesn't trust or get along with whom in a company, take out a tape measure. Distance keeps people from routinely interacting, often leading to animosity and loss of influence...and loss of informal contact where casual conversation oftentimes turns into a shared task.

**Those were the highlights with many, many case studies included throughout the book. Which of the above statements stood out in your mind...the one that made you say "Amen!".

I would like to know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

one prayer

Matthew is at Vacation Bible School at his cousin's church this week. As I was walking him to his class on the first day, I saw many TrueNorth families in the hallways. Our church does not offer VBS, so the TNC kids are scattered around different churches in our area for the summer program. I have to admit that the question entered my mind: Will my child be accepted here because we are from "over there"? It has been encouraging to see that we have been greeted with open arms and smiling faces. Is it safe for us all to believe that the old mentality of Us vs. Them is beginning to disappear in the church as a whole?

TNC has joined over 1400 other churches worldwide to participate in the same sermon series entitled "One Prayer". Each week for four weeks, a speaker will give their response to the question "If God would answer one prayer for the church at large, what would you ask?"

The heartbeat behind the One Prayer focus is to unite the church and the people in them. We may have our different styles of worship but the common thread is One Lord and One Faith. I'm excited about this series and hoping that the church will continue to impact the world by standing together "so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 15:6)

Monday, June 16, 2008

goldfish breath

I was trying to have a conversation with Walt, our soon-to-be church planter, yesterday at church. And since the music was loud, I had to yell in his face. I apologized for my coffee breath (even though it was Dunkin' Donuts French Vanilla). He said not to worry, it's Goldfish breath that knocks him out.

Say who?

Apparently those cute little unassuming Goldfish crackers we offer on Sunday mornings do a little number on your breath. Maybe that's why the bowls of peppermints at Guest Services can never stay full!

Now ya know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

collision at my front door

This is what happens when you fly toward your own reflection in the window...

well-oiled machine

Matthew is on a swim team this summer and we experienced our first full-blown swim meet last week. Every square inch of the pool deck was occupied by somebody's feet. It was hot and it was crowded.

But it ran like a well-oiled machine.

- Everyone received an event sheet by email in advance, stating the exact time of each swimmer's event and what stroke was expected.

- Many parent volunteers are necessary to fill positions of timer, shepherd, runner, concessions, and so on. All positions were filled and no one skipped a beat.

With the swim team leadership providing good communication of expectations, I am watching closely to decide which role I can fulfill as a future parent volunteer.

Our team won the meet that night. Matthew swam three events and received ribbons for each. Check them out (with my added comments of course)!

Monday, June 09, 2008

things that make you go hmmm

It's amazing what ocean water can do for a person's hair!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Awards day programs, graduations, class parties.....beware of the Mamarazzi!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I've been wanting to throw out all my random coffee mugs and replace them with a matching set. Instead I bought another random one this past weekend ($2.99 clearance, Kirklands). I couldn't help it.

"Drinking Coffee and Slacking Off are all part of what I do".

But not really. It just makes me smile.

Monday, June 02, 2008

everybody has a story


Around 40 people made a public profession that Jesus is their Lord and Savior last night in front of a crowd of hundreds at the Riverwalk Amphitheater. This evening reminded me that everybody has a story. And sometimes it takes many years to realize that God is in those stories. We don't always see it at the time.

My friend Mike has more pics here. There is a story in each picture. What's your story?

Friday, May 30, 2008


I love Fridays. Mainly because Alan is off work and we get to hang out together. And because sometimes I get to sleep in a little while he packs the kids' lunches, makes pancakes or waffles, fixes my coffee, and gets the kids out the door.

Friday night is usually family night. We all go out to dinner and end up at Walmart or Target afterward. We can be spotted at Blockbuster on Friday nights too.

Yep...I'm pretty spoiled today. And I have the best husband ever.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

sad news

More sad news in the community of Christian music.

On the heels of the recent Steven Curtis Chapman tragedy, Nicol Sponberg's (from Selah) 10 week old son died in his sleep last night. Nicol's brother's infant daughter also died a few short hours after birth about 7 weeks ago.

It makes me sick to my stomach.

Nicol led worship at our very first Chicks retreat at TrueNorth Church. It was during a very difficult time in the life our church as we had recently experienced our own similar tragedies within our church family. Nicol was a great blessing to us and we can return the blessing by praying hard for these families.

bargain time

99 cent regular-size milkshakes, all flavors...for a limited time!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i'm just saying

"So are you trying to tell me I need to lose weight?"
"I'm just saying..."

What do you say to smooth over a comment you just made in a conversation that just might have offended someone? Or if you think might have just gotten in someone's grill but didn't mean to? How do you get in the last word when you're ready for the conversation to be over?

"I'm just saying..."

Your voice then trails off and it's almost as if you can actually hear the dot dot dots at the end. And then you never really finish saying what you were trying to say.

It's not like it gets on my nerves or anything, because I do it too. I'm just saying...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Just got back from a long Memorial Day weekend vacation in the Smoky Mountains. What happened in Gatlinburg doesn't always stay in Gatlinburg:

1. We drove up late Thursday night and Alan was getting a little sleepy on the drive. So I gave him one of my Ipod earphones and we played Name that Tune to pass the time. And of course he guessed every Van Halen song in about three notes .

2. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for kids to make friends? The first day my kids got in the pool, they made friends with the other kids faster than I could get my book opened up and settled in my chair. Kids are social and uninhibited. And then they grow up to be adults.

3. The Gaither Family Fest was at the Convention Center in downtown Gatlinburg this past weekend. We got stuck in traffic until 11pm as the concert-goers swarmed out of the building, proudly displaying their Gaither concert t-shirts and baseball caps. As we people watched, I told Alan that "this was their Van Halen."

4. Allison and I like to invent words. I made up a new word this weekend. At least I think it's new:
vanagan (n) : a family minivan that is extremely overused...again and again.
Ex: Hey, kids! Go get in the vanagan (van again)!

5. There are no words to describe the downtown Gatlinburg scene at 11pm. Maybe what happens in Gatlinburg SHOULD stay in Gatlinburg.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

note to self

Note to self:

When you are with a group of friends, talking and what-not, DO NOT stop mid-sentence and frantically ask, "Has anyone seen my sunglasses?!!!!" of your friends will gladly make you feel like an idiot by telling you that your glasses are 'on top of your head'.

And they will never, ever let you live it down.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

things that make you go hmmm

I saw the Geico Caveman commercial last night and was thinking he looked a lot like Barry Gibb. What do you think?