Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Needless to say, Family Christian Stores' personal touch has "wowed" me over. It's amazing how the little touches can make such a big the difference.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
- The Prouts came over for dinner Friday night. I introduced Angie to Ebay and Craig's List. As a result, I inadvertently introduced Steve to whole new level of budgeting. Sorry Steve!
- Brian and I were hoping for a good planting day on Saturday. I'll share the design plans this week! Due to the rain on Friday (no complaints!) we were unable to do so but it worked out for the best.
- On Saturday afternoon, I went to stay with MaMa (my grandmother on Dad's side) who was admitted to the hospital on Thursday after a fall. I was reminded of the value found not only in a well-skilled nurse, but one whom also possesses compassion. Sonia, the night RN, was an angel from above. I know the Children's Hospital will experience the same blessing when Megan begins working there tomorrow morning.
- This morning, when MaMa woke up, it was still dark outside and in the room. Her first words were "Is anybody here?" When she heard my voice, her tears began to flow out of gratitude. I was reminded of the times I've asked the same question while "in the dark" and the comfort found from the voice of One who is ever present.
- This afternoon, we had our first annual Scott Family Reunion. It was a great time visiting with family and close family friends. One special friend of the family is Catherine Couch Edwards, Mama's best friend. I was named after this sweet godly woman and I'm proud of it!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This is the knockout rose I purchased back in the Spring. It was in a one gallon pot so you can see how well it's doing now. I have to agree... these flowers will pack a knockout punch for any garden.
This shrub rose was purchased from a gardener in Maine. I wasn't sure how well it would do here but it has tripled in size since March/April with continuous blooms that smell like baby powder. It's "Polar Ice" - I believe from the Alba family?
If you could take a whiff, you would be amazed by the heavenly "tea" scent emitted from this Tea Olive shrub. When the wind blows, the fragrance flows through the yard. I plan to plant three more on Saturday!
OK, so most consider honeysuckle an invasive weed but every time I smell these flowers, I'm immediately transported back in time to the first house I ever remember living in. I was 8 years old and on the back of the property was a chain link fence with honeysuckle and wild roses growing all over it. I always wanted to grow the same when I grew up. And I admit it. I still remove the blossom to enjoy the nectar! It makes me feel like a kid all over again.
Dad, this is the tree that I had just transplanted during your last visit. Neither of us were convinced it would make it -- but take a look!!! It's been pure-t pleasure all season long!
This is the rose that I transplanted from my grandmother's yard last Fall. I pulled a piece of the stem off her plant, dipped it in rooting powder and planted it in sand and eventually the garden. Red was her favorite color. She would be proud.
This is a beautiful geranium that I adopted when Brandon and Megan moved this summer. We didn't think it would survive the trip so I gladly brought it home. The green watering can is something I kept from MaMa's (Dad's mother) house when they moved into assisted living. I enjoy using things passed down from the family. Sweet memories! Yes, I'm a sentimental sap.
I couldn't close out the garden pictures without sharing one of "Oreo". She is my gardening buddy. Now if I could just train her to weed!
I hope you enjoyed the quick tour. Friday will be an especially busy day so I'll check back on Saturday. Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I especially enjoy Christmas Tea parties in the evening. Soft flickering candlelight, delicious aromas of Christmas tea blends wafting through the air and classical music playing in the background all come together to set the stage for an unforgettable evening of fellowship, meaningful moments, and lots of laughter... especially if Lisa Chappell is invited! Have mercy.
So, the ideas are beginning to swirl around in my head! Do you have tips or ideas to share? If so, send them my way!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- it's the perfect planting season (need I say more?)
- cool crisp breezes
- fewer mosquitoes
- the pecans begin falling in our backyard and I'm immediately taken back to my great-grandmother's home in Jonesville, SC, where we spent many a Thanksgiving gathering pecans and figs from their yard
- mountain trips
- our Anniversary - 18 years in October!
- hot apple cider
- crunchy leaves underfoot
- brilliantly colored leaves painting the sky
- Fall clothes! Bulky, warm and comfortable - good riddance capris!
- Yummy apples (Honeycrisp and Jazz are my favorites!)
- Daylight savings time = being able to start movies sooner in the evening!
- just the simple smell of autumn. There's nothing quite like it.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Teresa and I had the pleasure of hanging out with "K.T." and friends on her 40th birthday tonight. It was great seeing faces I hadn't seen in awhile, but it was especially nice spending a little time with the birthday girl.
I remember our first visit at CRCC almost 8 years ago when the church met at the high school. I noticed a striking woman who kept everyone on their toes and whose laughter carried throughout the building. I soon learned she was the Children's Ministry leader at the time (her organization and people skills simply blew me away!) That was then. This is now. My respect and love for her has only grown over the years. I love the way she shoots it straight with me - holding nothing back (and I do mean nothing, but that's another story).
There are many qualities I see in "K.T." that I wish came more naturally for me. Here are just a few of her many wonderful attributes:
- she has an adventurous spirit
- she's like the energizer bunny -- her energy never seems to cease!
- she has an insatiable hunger to grow in her relationship with Christ
- she asks the tough questions and yet you feel comfortable enough in her presence to answer them honestly. To say she is articulate is putting it mildly
- she has a quick (and twenty-something) smile :)
- she knows how to be a good friend to many people
- she never - and I do mean NEVER - takes a bad picture!! I guess if you've got it, you've got it... and girlfriend, you've got it and I doubt you'll ever lose it!
Love you friend!
Friday, September 19, 2008
So, why a tea party? Any tea lover would quickly reply, "Why not a tea party?", but it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it's because of our "church search" journey in recent months that has made connecting the body of Christ especially important to me. Being on the "visitor" side of the equation has reminded me of just how incredibly vital it is that people are welcoming to newcomers and caring to those around them. If we are to give God glory through our lives (which means giving a correct estimate of who He is to others) then we need to become very intentional as to who He has placed around us instead of focusing on ourselves. That is giving a correct estimate of our awesome Lord.
On the last week of our Summer study, I passed out feedback sheets in hopes of learning where I could improve as a teacher and how the class could improve in specific areas. One thing that was mentioned a few times was connecting more with the other class members, which is especially vital when the class members represent more than 5 churches. Is this easy to do in the amount of time we allot for class? No, but that's no excuse. So, I'm praying for creative ways to "set the stage" for connecting opportunities, but the actual connecting will have to come from each person.
Last week, after talking on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, we wrote down a specific area where we needed to experience God's comfort this week and then put the request in a basket, along with our contact information. We passed the basket around with the requests and yummy Dove chocolate pieces (dark chocolate, of course!) The ladies were encouraged to pray for the person they drew, and to encourage/minister to them in some way. Once they had done so they were to enjoy their piece of chocolate. A little "comfort" food never hurt anyone, right?
So, I'm looking forward to receiving feedback from the ladies to see which holiday we will be celebrating as a group. I'll keep you posted!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Yesterday I had the opportunity to help with the Good News Club at Simpsonville Elementary School with the CRCC team.
Mark Joseph, who recently stepped up to lead this ministry, did a fantastic job with the leaders, volunteers and kids. He has a huge heart for these kids -- no doubt about it! I also had the pleasure of meeting Jake who showed up with lots of snacks and drinks for the kids. If you could see Teresa, Karen and the entire team in action you would be amazed at their capability to hold the kid's attention as they share Christ in creative and exciting ways. I had the opportunity to pray with two little girls. One for salvation (YEA GOD!) and one struggling with a health problem.
If you have a heart for kids and a desire to see them enter the Kingdom at a young age, please contact Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) about getting on board with the Good News Club.
There are seeds packed with eternal significance being planted by the hands and feet of this faithful team. God bless you!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After class, God gave me the opportunity to see some of the ladies putting His truth into action. Women ministering to each other so much so that it seemed the 2 Corinthians page in my Bible had leapt out of its binding and come to life.
I am incredibly excited about this new season and study. God is good... all the time!
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Reading the article (shared below) for the first time yesterday once again confirmed my personal conviction and passion for Sunday School (or whatever you choose to call it). A structured tool for learning the Word on a regular basis and "sharpening iron" with other believers is crucial in the life of a disciple. Having this type of class in place is the second most important element in our decision making process when it comes to choosing our next church home (which I think I'll be able to share with you soon!)
Thom S. Rainer, a prominent Christian author, speaker, and researcher, shared the following in his article entitled "High Expectation Churches":
"In the 1980s I had become a certain Sunday School skeptic. Though I did not try to dismantle the Sunday Schools in the churches I pastored, I certainly was not a leader in making the organization stronger and more evangelistic. If anything took place, the Sunday Schools of my churches suffered from pastoral neglect.
I was not alone in my sentiments. Many of my peers were like me, enamored with some of the latest methodologies and innovations to help a church grow. Sunday School just seemed a bit old-fashioned compared to the "cutting-edge" information we were receiving from a plethora of sources. Indeed I had my doubts that Sunday School would be a viable growth and assimilation tool in the twenty-first century. But two developments led me to see my biases in a different light.
One would think that I would have no surprise when the strength of Sunday School became evident in yet another research project. This time, however, the overwhelmingly positive response regarding the Sunday School surprised me. No assimilation methodology came close to Sunday School in effectiveness. No methodology was deemed more effective than the Sunday School in retaining members.
Sunday School is neither neglected or accidental in the churches that are closing the back door. To the contrary, the churches that we surveyed were highly intentional in their approach to Sunday School.
I recently interviewed the pastor of a non-Southern Baptist church in the Washington, DC area. His testimony on the rediscovery of Sunday School is not atypical of other comments we heard.
"A few years ago," he told us, "I was ambivalent about Sunday School. I did not plan to eliminate it from our church, but I certainly was not giving it a priority." But, in 1994, he began to read and hear about churches that were rediscovering the strength of the Sunday School.
"I guess you might say I had a wake-up call," he told us. "I realized that our church had been evangelistically apathetic, and that our back door was wide open. I began re-thinking my lack of priority about Sunday School. Then things began to change as our church made some intentional efforts to revitalize this ministry."
The Doctrine Factor
A few studies have established the relationship between doctrinal understanding and assimilation. For example, a study of the churches in the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination found that younger generations tend to leave the church within about twenty years if the church has a low view of biblical authority, and if the doctrine of the church is not communicated clearly.
Two questions may surface immediately. How is doctrine related to the closing of the back door? Why has the relationship between doctrine and assimilation been mentioned so infrequently?
The issue of doctrine and the closing of the back door is closely related to expectations and assimilation. The clear teachings of biblical truth are demanding and convicting. The Holy Spirit speaks through God's Word in such a way that the cost of discipleship is understood. No higher expectations could be placed upon believers than these truths of Scripture. And, as we have seen throughout this study, high expectations are clearly related to assimilation.
The Evangelism Factor
One of the reasons I visited the non-denominational church in the Orlando area was its remarkable evangelistic record. The church had grown from less than 100 in attendance to nearly 300 in just two years. And most of the growth had come from conversion of adults.
The first question I had to ask the pastor was: "How is your church reaching so many people for Christ?" I had examined the demographic data of the church's community, and the growth potential in the area was modest at best. How had the church baptized nearly 200 people in two years?
The pastor could best be described as easygoing. His mannerisms and words reflected someone who was definitely not in a rush. His answer to my question was straightforward: "Sunday School," he said.
Wait a minute, I responded. You simply do not hear of churches today using Sunday School as their primary evangelistic arm. "We do," the pastor deadpanned.
I arrived at the evangelistic Sunday School at 9:00 a.m. since the scheduled beginning was 9:15 a.m. Much to my surprise, not only was the teacher present, but nearly half who would attend that Sunday were already in attendance. No one arrived later than 9:15.
The class was a bit large; approximately twenty were in attendance. But I learned that the class had started with an average of twelve in attendance at the beginning of the year, and that two new classes had been started from the class in the past eighteen months. I was impressed!
Equally impressive was the fact that two-thirds of the Sunday School class members had been trained in personal evangelism in the context of their own class. On the day I attended prayer concerns began with prayers for lost persons to whom they were witnessing. Most of these persons were co-workers or neighbors.
I would discover at the end of the class that two non-Christians were present the day I attended. When I asked the teacher how those non-believers felt with so much evangelistic emphasis, the response was: "Why don't you ask them?" Indeed the teacher called the two to join our after-class conversation.
Somewhat hesitatingly, I asked the two non-Christians if they felt uncomfortable in the class today. Their response was so quick that it caught me off guard. One quickly said, "Not at all! We know these people care for us because they show their concern every day. The reason we attend is because of the love they have shown toward us."
We have known that Sunday School is a vital component of the past for American churches. Its history is almost as old as our nation itself. But more and more the research indicated that Sunday School is not only our past, it is our future as well. And we who are leaders in the church will ignore this reality to our churches' peril."
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Our cottage sits just behind the downtown area (within walking distance) on three secluded acres surrounded by woods. We're already looking forward to sitting on the screened porch and enjoying a cool Fall afternoon (especially after this humidity-laden day! eek!)
Goodbye Summer.... Hello Fall!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Brian is heading home today from a two-week trip to France, compliments of Michelin, so it's the perfect opportunity to share why this heart grew even fonder for the hubster in his absence. Of course, time nor space allows for an exhaustive list, so here are the top 10:
- He loves God first... me second.
- He loves our boys as his own... always has.
- He is faithful. I trust him implicitly.
- He has my highest respect as the spiritual leader of our home.
- He is talented as all get out, i.e. plays multiple instruments, sings, paints, the list goes on.
- He is humble (which can't be an easy feat!)
- He is a hard-worker and good provider - not only financially, but also spiritually and emotionally.
- This is selfish, but true. He's my biggest cheerleader!
- He's hilarious. :)
- And last, but not least, he's my best friend.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
- Where you were when you heard the first reports of a possible airplane hitting the Twin Towers?
- The puzzled and troubled faces of the anchor men and women as they tried to figure out how a commercial airlines pilot could possibly hit the tower on such a beautiful clear day?
- Seeing the black puff of smoke first emerging from the north tower?
- Hearing reports of a second plane hitting the south tower?
- The first realization that we were under attack in our own country?
- The thoughts racing through your mind?
- The firemen traveling as fast as possible through the city streets of NY? Little did they know at the time that 343 of them would not return home that day.
- People running out of the building?
- People leaping to their death?
- The scene of the the south tower collapsing to rubble?
- Coming to the realization that thousands of innocent lives were crumbling as well?
- The scene of the north tower following its sister tower? And again, the loss of lives involved?
- The first report out of Washington that a plane had hit the Pentagon?
- The reports that there could be other hijacked planes in our skies?
- The report that a plane, believed to be headed towards DC, Flight Number 93, had crashed in PA?
- People frantically searching for their loved ones, posting pictures, and begging officials for updates?
May we never forget September 11. God bless America and the men and women who are bravely defending our country.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Revlon's Beyond Natural Cream Lipgloss (#160 Berry) It's just as described! A natural color with a creamy consistency and a slight berry scent. You can't confuse it with the old-school Tootsie Roll lipgloss that smelled so much like the candy that you could have sworn it stuck to your teeth. Nope. This is grown-up girl gloss and I think you'll love it. I think Sarah Palin would too!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Dad provides many enjoyable moments for MaMa, but one of the most important things he brings with every visit is patience - something that "flies under the radar" and often goes unnoticed by most, and yet is so vital when those we love begin slipping away... memory by memory. Of course, the most important thing he brings is his love for her. He could do a million other things with his time now that he's retired, but MaMa remains near the top of his priority list. Not out of duty, but love.
But thankfully, the lesson doesn't stop there.
I'm proud of my mom for the way she has given so much of her time and energy to care for grandmother's sister, Aunt Helen, after grandmother's passing last December. Mom was always attentive to grandmother and now she carries out that same care for Aunt Helen, who is very feeble. She drives to Spartanburg to help take her to doctor appointments, shopping or anything else she needs, in addition to visiting her regularly. Mom is retired and she too could be doing many other things, but chooses to unselfishly give of herself to make sure Aunt Helen feels loved and cared for. She would make grandmother very proud.
Both of my parents are living out their love and respect for their parents. They are saying "I love you" not only with their lips, but more importantly, through their actions. Their sacrifices have left an indelible mark on my life. They have taught me a lesson by example and one day MANY years from now I will have the opportunity to do the same for my boys.
and parents are the pride of their children." Proverbs 17:6
Sunday, September 7, 2008
- We had a great class this morning. Although I don't personally know most of those in the class (yet!) it's obvious that they are in the class to learn and grow the Word. It's not about checking off a "this-is-what-it-means-to-be-a-good-Baptist (or any other denomination)" list. There's no doubt God is using Sherri's infectious hunger for Him to infiltrate the hearts and lives of us all. This morning, while in 1 Samuel, we discussed the fact that God closed Hannah's womb and how it feels when God brings or allows disappointment and trials. One couple, whose 18 year old son was killed in May, spoke up quickly and shared of God's faithfulness. Do they still experience sadness? Of course they do. But the husband shared how they had to make the conscious decision to take God at His Word and trust Him fully, regardless of the pain. Isn't it always inspiring to see Christ followers living out what they truly believe? It was powerful, to say the least.
- Brian is out of town today. I miss him much, but I plan to drown my sorrows in brownies with walnuts (I always have to make them plain for Brian) and a double-header NASCAR day!!! Due to Tropical Storm Hannah, the Friday and Saturday night races were postponed until today. The Sprint Cup begins at 1:00 and the Nationwide race at 7:00. That's a lot of brownies. but somehow I will suffer through (maybe I should plan a long walk in between races?) I have to admit that it's days like this when I'm thankful to be an "only" as I have no problem entertaining myself.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I recently came across another great teaching book, "Teaching Today's Teachers to Teach" by Donald L. Griggs.
While the typesetting is a little out of whack (Sorry - I can't help but notice!) the content is very good. I haven't finished it, but I can see where teachers of all ages would find it helpful. Some of the chapters include:
- The Realities of Teaching in the Church in the Twenty-First Century
- Ten Questions for Teachers to Ask and Answer
- The Art of Asking Questions
- Encouraging Creativity
"When I was a college student -- back before the earth's crust hardened -- I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my professors. Through a window I could see the light on his desk, morning after morning. At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o'clock, I would again see his desk light on. He was always poring over his books. One day he invited me to home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him, "Would you mind if I asked you a question?" "Of course not." "What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop." His answer, I learned later, was in the words of another -- but they had become his own: "Son, I would rather have my students drinking from a running stream than a stagnant pool."
Excuse me while I go put on my steel-toed shoes. Ouch!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I recently came across a small book loaded with practical ideas on simplifying life. Interested? Check out some of these ideas:
- Take time off to renew my energy and creativity. "Even soil becomes depleted if it tries to produce without a season of rest." T.D. Jakes
- Fill up the tank when it's half full. "Prevention is the daughter of intelligence." Sir Walter Raleigh
- Buy Christmas gifts all year long. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3
- Keep a master gift-giving list in my wallet. "Direction literally creates time." Zig Ziglar
- Identify my most productive time of day and maximize it. "Make it thy business to know thyself." Miguel de Cervantes
- Establish a shoes-off-in-the-house policy. "Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance." Phyllis Diller
- Cook twice as much for dinner and freeze half. "Mothers, food, love, and career, the four major guilt groups." Cathy Guisewite
- Turn off the television and feed the soul. "He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers." Proverbs 19:8
- Stay focused on the truly important things in life. "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." Doug Larson
- And last, but not least, my personal favorite: Make lists. "Our memories are card indexes consulted, and then put back in disorder by authorities we do not control." Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
2 Timothy 2:15
It's interesting that the verb above is written in the imperative mood -- which means it is a command, not a suggestion. While correctly handling God's Word is a must for anyone preaching/teaching the Word, the command certainly applies to every Christ follower. How can we share the Word/truth with someone if we do not know it for ourselves? Chuck Swindoll grabbed my heart, as well as my attention, today when he spoke on the subject of knowing the Word -- not only what it says but also what it means.
In "The Voice of Martyrs" William Barclay says this:
"It is not until a man finds his faith opposed and attacked that he really begins to think about the implications of that faith. It is not until the church is confronted with some dangerous heresy that she begins to realize the riches and wonder of orthodoxy. It is characteristic of Christianity that it has inexhaustible riches, and that it can always produce new riches to meet any situation."
The question I pose to myself and readers is this: Do you know what you believe? I mean really know what you believe? My guess is that we would both be amazed by the number of people who have no clue as to what they believe. They show up for a Sunday morning service at any given church, listen to a message and leave. That's it. Their minds are not discerning what is being said or suggested. Or perhaps they heard some truth, but it was laced with a bit of heresy (usually unintended). If they cannot discern truth from error, they are likely to believe it's all truth. We are commanded to know better.
Thanks for the reminder, Chuck!
that they may know you the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."