The Word is Alive.... I often say that. Right now, sitting here, thinking back through the day.. it applies more so than ever. What a day!
This morning was odd. Brother G and Austin normally leave the house at 7:00 a.m. Mom, the younger boys and myself, normally not until 8:45. Yet, this morning.. here we all were... until 10:00 a.m. since we were going to be with a different body of believers. It took us 30 minutes to travel where we were going.. Brother G has preached there several times before. I knew today was going to be completely different though... It was through and through..
Brother G called married men out this morning. Stepped on toes majorly. And several men came up to him afterwards and said how much they needed that. Individuals were crying in the pews. And I kept hearing, "Camey? You've got yourself a Preacher Man!" I'll leave it at that for the moment....
On the way back to the house... An old friend of Austin's, from where we used to live, rang. After downing some lunch.. Austin and I headed to the friend's home.. an hour and a half away. I won't go into great detail except to say... Please pray for this family. Austin is spending the night there tonight. We'll be picking him back up in the morning. Please pray for this family... for their teenage son.
As soon as I drove in the driveway... it was time for Brother G and I to head back to the physical church building where we were at this morning. We were pleasantly surprised at the attendance tonight... At least 3/4 of the individuals who were there this morning were back tonight. They were walking up to Brother G still talking about his sermon this morning.. about stepping on their toes... about being thankful Brother G and I were back tonight. Then it happened...
Brother G preached the best sermon he has ever preached that I have heard. In fact, it was not only his best sermon... it was the best sermon on this particular text I've ever heard.. People were crying.. One woman.. young woman said to me afterwards, "I don't normally cry. He has made me cry both times today." A couple of individuals came up to him.... please pray for them as they take his counsel to heart. What my husband preached today would not mean a hill of beans if HE were not I AM. Remember ME? I AM....... I AM the reason for breath.. for life.. for every moment.
Yesterday, Travman and I were discussing some of the details of the next three weeks. One thing that struck me was the fact that all three of our sons have only known two bodies as their home church. The one here locally and the one that hubby and I had been at all but 6 months of our married lives. Catch this.... 15 years - from 1990 to May 2005.... It was at that physical building where all three sons went from the nursery to the baptismal waters as a result of a choice and really started growing in their relationships with God/Christ. And yet, this local church body is where Austin received his calling and all three boys have truly dived in with their service because of God's love for them and theirs for Him. History... just some of it to say the least...
Trav made a comment about "not being at church" the next three weeks. About how it might be difficult for him to truly worship in unknown places. His honesty - I greatly appreciate. It reminded me of something God taught me years ago....
What is necessary to worship is not a familiar building... or group of people... at least that's not the way God truly intended for it be I believe. For it was.... how could anyone worship when those doors are closed? When that group of people are a part for days?
When I was home bound... I could not go to the physical building. Did that mean I was unable to worship? No.... not all. And as in this current time in our lives.... worship can take place wherever we go.... are and no doubt it will....
God is not in a room with a lock and key and the times of entry posted on the door.
This morning I am found with thoughts of certain individuals. Please excuse me if I appear to ramble some... If you see yourself.... know you are deeply loved.
There's this woman. I had the pleasure of sitting under her teaching and leadership. She can be blamed for the chocolate in my Bible study classes. We have since become prayer partners and sweet sisters in Christ. Her family is going through such an incredibly difficult time. The health of several family members is not good. Carrying to Jesus....
There's a guy who is like my little brother. If I had a little brother that is... He cracks me up and our time spent talking with each other is always filled with laughter even if the subject may be unpleasant. His wife is quickly becoming just as precious to me. It is a pleasure to carry each and their marriage to Jesus.
There's a certain confidante who is only an email, phone call, or drive away. His friendship is truly beyond words. Our relationship with him has gotten sweeter over the years. And in the last few months, even more tender. Carrying this man to Jesus is like taking a very piece of our own being.
There's this man.... He loves a woman who is not always easy to love. He cries out for wisdom that only God can give him in regards to this woman. This woman can make him smile, has made him cry, and has frustrated the heck out of him at times. And yet, he loves her more today than yesterday and not as much as tomorrow. And without question, all the same can be said about him in her eyes. Carrying him to Jesus is most definitely a privilege and responsibility that comes with marriage. And I would not miss one moment with him. Life is truly a journey that I am thankful to be on with him.
Certain individuals. Thank You Lord for each of these....
Part of why I enjoy working Fridays at the physical church building is because of Trouble and The Mayor.. They always come by the desk before they walk out the doors. Well, they kind of have to given where the desk is.. but... they would make the trip any way.. We sort of love each other.
They come on Friday mornings to help get things ready for Sunday morning and/or for things that are needing to be mailed out. They both amaze the heck out of me honestly. Trouble is in her 80's; The Mayor - her 90's. And at times, can run circles around those watching them or thinking they might need help. Sure, there's things they physically can't do any longer.. But what they can do.. they definitely do.
Trouble and The Mayor worked this morning with Brother G and our three sons. I knew when it was time for them (Trouble and The Mayor) to leave - they would have some stories to tell.. It seems that Trouble wanted to give Austin a cup of coffee to drink. Austin knows his daddy, aka Brother G, does not allow him to drink coffee. She brought him a cup any way.. Austin would not drink it. Trouble, at first, thought Brother G was being a hard nose about it. But, by the time she and I finished talking about why Brother G has the position on Austin drinking coffee that he does - well, she was seeing it more clearly. And she definitely did not think he was being hard nosed any longer... Hugs and "I love you" were given as she headed out the door. But I can't forget about The Mayor either now...
The Mayor and her hubby walked up to the desk.. The Mayor thinks Brother G is handsome. Well, she and I definitely agree about that! She went on and on about how she enjoys spending time with him and the boys. Her hubby (a good man) talked about how much help my guys were to them today especially... (they were filling in for some other individuals) Her hubby is in his late 80's and by the sheer fact that he can keep up with The Mayor is impressive to say the least. Oh, "The Mayor" is a title she has since she has been with this local church body for so many years and around this town in general. Oh, how I greatly enjoy sitting at her and Trouble's feet just listening to them. Mr. Mayor too although he's not as loud... We don't always agree.. but
There have been a few good men around so far this morning. There's a folding chair here beside where I am sitting. It has been sat in a few times already today, and time has been well spent listening to these men in-between answering the phone. Someone refers to the chair as my couch but that's a different story. One man made a special trip to the physical church building to give money. Yes, he will be here on Sunday... he still came today... Got to love that!
Trouble, The Mayor and A Few Good Men... Better than popcorn and a movie!
Last night a hundred or so of us gathered to pray at the worship center. A couple of individuals made comments to me about remembering the first time they really came to know me... it was because of a prayer conference. I could not help but smile deeply. They were a couple of ones who did not understand why I was given the task of helping organize it. We had only been at the church around a year at that time when I asked a question. The rest is history or so they say... We've prayed together numerous times since then. Priceless times.
Randal asked everyone there to break up into groups. Brother G and I both knew we needed to be by ourselves. As he got down on his knees and took my hands.... it honestly was not only what we had been called to prayer about that he prayed. It was calls of several types. All that require deep deep prayer. Not surface prayers....
And since Brother G told who he needed to... I can share a bit.
For the next three Sundays... we will not be with the local church body.... Brother G is preaching at two different churches. One this coming Sunday morning, night and then the following Wednesday night. The following two Sundays, he is preaching both morning and night at a church in East Texas. And no, we're not going to the first church. He is still going to fill in while their pastor is on vacation. But we have heard clearly... no... The second church... well... that door just opened. Yes, they are small churches. But they are still just as much as His.
As individuals often tell me/us.... "Your family lives the weirdest life." Well, yes... yes... we do. And yet, calls are being answered. And we will continue to have faith in God for our lives are not our own....
He is God. He is the only one who gives us life.... His Word breathes. It is alive.
And living each moment has never been so exciting even in the midst of everchanging colors.
How long has it been since you've prayed deep deep prayers? And are you willing to live a weird life if He calls you to no matter where?
Please pray for Laura. She has the MRSA strain of staph infection. This is considered the most serious type of staph and in some cases, drug resistant. They have her on the IV antibiotic vancomycin which is a drug that has been shown to work against MRSA. She is in isolation and will remain there indefinately.
This morning I've been thinking through the G family calendar as it is known right now this moment. Oh my. January is definitely looking like a different month. Yet, it is without a doubt proof of moving ahead.... going forward.
I'm not teaching Bible study group on Sunday mornings for the month of January. When this decision was reached by several parties.... I knew something was up. Didn't know what for sure... just knew. It is already becoming clearer. Not a complete picture mind you. Just a little bit clearer. And I'm beyond excited!
As of right now, this moment, I am scheduled to teach another class on Tuesday mornings. This one on marriage. I've also accepted an invitation to be a break out speaker for a retreat at the end of the January. The subject matter is one that we live daily. I've never spoken to a group of individuals about it before per se... but yet I'm beyond excited....
Wednesday nights, Brother G is scheduled to teach a parenting class and then a marriage class. He has asked me to consider teaching with him. And while I love what I have the pleasure of doing on Wednesday nights...... he does make a tempting offer....
There are other things on our calendar that I'm not at liberty to discuss this moment. That's how it goes with individuals in ministry sometimes. And yet, I can say that, yet again, I'm beyond excited....
All the pieces to the picture that January will be are not in yet... they are unknown at this moment. One thing God has taught me time and time again: You can plan but be prepared for things to change. At times, in a moment's notice without a calling card in hand.
Faith to move ahead. For my faith is secure in Him and not in myself or Brother G.... or anyone else. Faith in Him alone. And that is all that is needed to move ahead.... this moment.
Do you have faith to move ahead? And who is your faith really in?
Thank you to all who prayed for Shelley's grandfather, her family and her. His surgery went well and he was released from the hospital on Christmas Day! Thank you again.....
Last Thursday, I was given a wonderful assignment. It was to ask 5 family groups per our two Christmas Eve services to participate in the service itself. This type of assignment goes hand in hand with a church body that is in transition. I got input from several of the different ministries.. I then began calling individuals. By early Friday afternoon, each space was locked.
One was to be the Berry Family. If you remember, Briggs was on lifeinthemoments as a prayer request. He was only given two weeks to live.... You should have heard his voice when we were on the phone Friday.... From what I heard.... it was clearly moving when he read his part of Advent.... If the doctors had been right... he would not have been there. Yet, God had other plans for his life.
Part of the design of who was asked to participate was the scope of how many & the ages of family members they have who are a part of our local church body. In the 2nd service.... 40 plus was the total for the five family groups. 3 generations in 4 out of the 5. Did you catch that? Generations being impacted... Oh the stories I could tell you about these families... One was Ms. Nell's who I recently wrote about in Subway Testimony.
When I was given the assignment, it was asked that we were to be a part of an actual service... the six of us. Brother G and Austin were already a part given what they do of course. Little did I know...
When the six of us were reading our part of Advent... Salvation.. as I looked across the sanctuary... I could see faces. Faces of individuals that I had never seen before.. Faces of some whom I/we love beyond words. Faces of individuals who have been being prayed for... they were no longer names... they had faces now.
When the service was over.... Several of the family members came up to me.. It was clear by the looks on their faces, their body language, and what they had to say... this had already been no ordinary Christmas. If one can ever be.......
One of the individuals I had never met before personally and I were introduced. We hit it off immediately! She is a homeschooler.... and is Jewish. We spent the next few minutes talking away. Hugs were given as we left the physical building.... A new friend was made.. I have no doubt phone calls from Houston and G-town will follow... What an amazing woman she is! I had to laugh though when she asked if I am a professional public speaker. And apparently, one of my nephews thought I sounded along the lines of a certain woman who is heard speaking all over the world... Laughter... what a gift.
Brother G, myself, Parker, and my brother's wife had cooked most of dinner before the service. We came back to the house and had a wonderful meal together. Did I ever mention that Brother G is an amazing cook? Oh my... So is this particular s-i-l.... We enjoyed our time together as the B/G family.. They spend the night as a part of tradition...
Christmas morn came with wonderful surprises. Something called a Wii has found its way to this house.... And I have never been more thankful for a game system as funny as that sounds. Why? Christmas Day afternoon and evening.... was spent somewhere completely different for the five of us... in Dallas with several members of the G family.... Hubby's parents, two of his brothers, one sister-in-law, and three dogs made for an unforgettable time! Watching them all play the Wii together was beyond a bonding adventure... Laughter was abundant..
What was so amazing about our time at D and L's home as well.... as we sat around their dining table... she teared up and said, "This has always been a dream of mine. To have family around our table at Christmas time." She had wonderful little treats at each place setting along with paper crowns... Brother G's was pink... His dad's purple.. Each gift between all there was thoughtful... it was evident that real consideration into who each person was definitely given. Totally awesome! I sit here now with a new nickname... Marshmallow. The pink peep has been replaced...
As we came back home... mom was sitting in her chair watching a movie on TV. As the boys talked with her about their time with the other side of the family... it was clear... we really are one in the bond of love... His love... Even with the memories of Christmas' past with ones no longer physically here...
Brother G was truly moving this year.. more so than ever.... The gifts he gave me... to the married couples on both sides of the family... the personal notes he wrote of encouragement, love and hopes for the future. The reasons behind the Wii coming to this house..... oh my... And yet...
There is no gift that can compare to Jesus. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day may have come and gone and still Christmas is not over....
May it be alive and living 365 days a year! May His Spirit be ever present in your moments.
Please pray for Shelley's grandfather and her family. He collapsed while eating at a Denny's restaurant and was admitted to the hospital. At this time, it is believed to be heart related. We had just started setting up at Wal-Mart for Love G-town when Shelley got word. She immediately left to be with her family.
For those not in the know... Shelley is the Student Minister at our local church body and is also one of our dearest friends too.
Love G-town was still a huge success even in the midst of blistering winds. Thanks to all who showed up to share God's love with neighbors. Testimonies will be coming soon.
It's not a secret I greatly enjoy Subway (and if you ask for avocados it does cost extra but is oh so worth it).. So, I headed there just a few minutes ago for lunch. Standing in line in front of me was Chase and his mother. Chase and I got to talking about what he loves to do on Wednesday nights.... Learn SCRIPTURES and about how it applies to his life today and hanging out with certain adults like some woman named Nell.
Of course, he did go through all the awards he has earned. Hey! He's a kid! What was really touching though... He made a point of telling me about Ms. Nell's uncle passing away. He asked me to pray for them.
Now.. THAT beats a Subway sandwich any day! Sorry, Subway....
Last night, Ms. P came in to the foyer with this woman. I was not sure if the woman would recognize me with my hair down or not.. Sure enough.. she looked at me and immediately we hugged and she just started pouring out..... We had first met on Friday night during TfG..
The woman's name is Yolanda. Her and her children, as well as some other friends of theirs, were there Sunday night for TfG. Yolanda started welling up with tears as she talked about all that has happened over the course of the last few days. Ms. P and I just soaked up all that was pouring out of this life that has been being filled up.....
It seems that Yolanda has gotten a job. A pretty good job at that. One that will really help her and her two children. Her husband is in jail. And it is up to her to support them now. So, for you locals.... She has a truck that needs a good doctor. She needs some clothes to work in. She needs individuals to walk with her and her children. Her daughter rec'd some really cool stuff from Christmas for Children. Her son's card had gotten lost. I have a list of things that he could use and would like... I'll be at the physical church building today and tomorrow from 8:30 to 4:30 with the exception of 11:30 to 12:30. Please call and offer your help..... And yes... you can always reach me via cell phone except for during G family time or dates with Brother G.
Ms. P said that she had left Yolanda's son with Travis in the Attic. That she knew he would look out for him. Ms. P headed back to find some students who needed loving on.... She is awesome like that! Yolanda's daughter is a part of the children's Wednesday night ministry. No doubt she gets loved on each Wednesday night especially. Yolanda continued to pour out... She has a real sense of hope about her now...
Yolanda and family. I'm not just talking about her and her two children. We, as a body of Christ followers should be that to them... family.
Christmas.... The love of God came down.... How can you live His love today? This moment?
Last night was our church staff party. And let me just say.... we have some crazy staffers. Brother G and I are incredibly blessed to call each one brother and sister in Christ... family. You guys/gals help make ministry fun! Laughter was abundant.... as well as some darn amazing food too. You each are written on our hearts and throughout the moments... and we are beyond thankful. We love you!
I had to laugh after getting home... The guys kept telling me, "We'll see you tomorrow morning Camey." And I... in my foolishness kept saying, "No, you won't. I'm not at the desk until Thursday." Foolishness? Yep. I forgot the Wednesday meeting was in the morning... that today was going to be Wednesday. (Anyone ever have that happen to them? lol) We're able to laugh at each other and ourselves... and that makes it all the more alive and living.
Two things to know about each meeting:
1) we have a devotional time 2) we not only take prayer requests.... we actually pray. and not just for the sick.
This morning, it was my pleasure and privilege to bring the devotional. The scripture laid on my heart and mind was one that it etched on the creases of my hands and heart and lungs. It is written on the lines in my forehead... Psalm 118:8. I don't know where you take refuge.... but I know for me... it has always been better to take in the Lord than man..... any man..... no matter his degree, wealth, position.... whatever the case may be except Jesus. Only in the Lord...
After the meeting, Austin and I did some shopping. Brother G joined us for some lunch at Austin's request. The three of us had a good time fellowshipping together. And then, Austin and I were off for more shopping. How fun it was to watch him spend the money he has worked so hard to earn.... especially since most of it was spent on others... not himself.
Before heading back to the highly secure gated community, we stopped in to the bank. We spent some time with my cousin who is the manager there... Austin opened his first savings account with the bonus check he got for Christmas from the little store inside the highly secure gated community. It was just the right amount needed to open the account.. And after Austin completes an on-line course on "Smart Credit".... he will receive $25.00 from the bank. Not bad at all considering he had the day off.... lol
Time well spent all around.... Christmas!
It is more than one or two days a year.... or even for a season.
What an interesting time the three of us had yesterday afternoon. Hoover and mom were standing inside the entry way as I came out of our side of the house. They both looked at me and said, "Camey? You need a jacket. A light one will do." Then I realized, I wasn't dressed up enough for them. Over the years, I've become more and more casual. And yet, as they both reminded me, "Most older adults dress up to go to the doctor." Hoover is seventy-nine... She is sixty-five. So, a jacket I got.....
As we were getting into his car, hubby pulled up in the driveway. Hoover yelled out, "Hey D. I'm stealing all your women." We just laughed. Then, as he was getting into the car, my mom said, "Ask him if I have a curfew." He yelled back out as hubby hit the front door... "Do they have a curfew?" Hubby replied back, "Only Miss A." Again, laughter erupted.... Miss A of course is my mom - not me.....
As we were backing out of the drive.... mom said, "I know D. was a little frustrated with me this morning about what time we needed to leave. But I know he did not want me to get there so early that I had too much time to really fret. I know he loves me dearly." I smiled deeply. She took the time he said was needed and added thirty minutes for her version of traffic... which is more than three cars.
As mom and I were in with the doctor..... he spoke very plainly to her. Very direct. He said, "No. You do not understand. You are not accepting this." And, of course, I then had to say to her, "Mom? You cannot drive. If you do, you could not only get a ticket but also lose your license." Now, granted... she does not drive but maybe a total of 3 miles a week.... if that.... But since she has ventured out of the highly secure gated community here more recently... very direct talk was needed. Her first surgery is not until the 14th of January... the second being the 4th of February. Sometimes grace and mercy does include very direct talk.
As we went into another room for more tests... as she sat in the chair, she said, "I realize I'm being really difficult. I'm not meaning to be.. But I know I am." The woman sitting beside her shook her head and then I said, "Hey mom? I've got a witness to you saying that." We just busted out laughing and so did the woman... Sometimes laughter comes in the midst of difficult moments.
When we left his office... mom wanted ice cream. Nothing new there.... lol So, the three of us went to Braum's. As we sat in the booth, Hoover insisted we share his sundae... so we did... I'm not a fan of peanut butter and chocolate sundaes but since he bought me a spoon too.... Mom kept talking about what the doctor said. She had on a pair of glasses that looked like she had just been to a 3D movie! Of course, more laughter was had in the midst of her really wanting to stay mad and cry. She does not like to wear glasses. Period. She is greatly bothered by not being able to wear her contacts any more... And by the fact that she does indeed have to have surgeries only old people need even though she refers to herself as an "older person" all the time in her conversations with hubby, myself, and the boys especially.
We talked more a long the way home about what the doctor had said and what all was discussed. Of course, she did ask the doctor if he had talked with her son-in-law... Hubby does talk very direct with her when needed. That is a part of changing roles... He is not just her son-in-law... he is also the man of the house now even though it is still hers. It is so tender how much he loves her and she him..... As she has said, "I even have my own pastor living with me." Life... can be weird...
Changing roles... at times the lines are blurry... And yet, with His guidance... we can know that we are where He wants us to be....
DONATIONS NEEDED................... On Saturday, December 22 from 9:00am - noon volunteers will be wrapping Christmas presents at Wal-Mart in G-Town. If you would like to be a part of this, please call the church office and speak to Shelley.
This is a CHURCH WIDE event - everyone is welcome to participate. What a great way to spend a few hours showing others the love of God.. by serving them... In order to complete this service, we are asking for rolls of wrapping paper. If you have extra rolls of Christmas paper or would like to donate some, please bring it to the physical church building on WEDNESDAY evening (or during the day) and leave it at the receptionist desk. Your help is greatly appreciated by making Christmas a little easier for people this year.
And remember.. you can actually do this every day. We are called to love others because He first loved us.
What ways can you share His love today? This moment?
*Update: Yes, event coordinators realize this is the Saturday before Christmas.
This afternoon, my mother has a doctor's appointment in the big city. It appears she might need to have surgery on her eyes. So, off the three of us will go.... my mother, her boyfriend, and her daughter....aka me. He is going to be our chauffeur. He does open her door too.
This is where the lines are blurred in changing roles. Legally, her boyfriend has no say so in her care. I do. And yet, it is clear that he loves her in his ways and does see himself as a caregiver of sorts. He took her for her eye doctor appointment last week to get her contacts renewed. Today, given that surgery is being discussed now, it is necessary for me to be there. Of course, I want to be there.
I could put up a stink and say that since he has no legal rights, it is not necessary for him to go with us. And yet, that is not what I need to do. That honestly would not help my mother today. And that is what I have to be concerned with... What will help her? Will fussing and disagreements or grace and mercy?
One thing that I have been reminded of time and time again.. It is easy to show others compassion. It can be more difficult at times to show those who are flesh and blood. It is clear that the lines are blurred...
And yet with His help and guidance... there is clarity.
Last night we spent time with several individuals at a party. As I looked around the room, I could not help but think what a diverse group had gathered there. As the conversations flowed, again the same thought came to mind.
The man of the house and I spent some time talking. He has in recent months become one of our dearest and closest friends. Actually, him, his wife, three daughters and son have become just like... family.... He is the teacher for this particular group. He wanted to make sure Brother G and I, along with our family, was invited. As he and I talked, he said, "You know Camey.. It really is a diverse group but everyone likes it that way." I could not help but smile deeply in my soul. It is very clear who the Real Leader of the group is.....
While it is true that most there have been Christ followers for years, others are relatively new in their faith. There are individuals who have been married and with kids for years. There are some who are newly married. There are some who are single and have a child. Some are considered wealthy in the eyes of the world and others not so.... Some have known real heartaches. And yet, riches abounded in that home last night.
For if you look at who Christ had walking with Him.... that is what you find. A diverse group.....
How diversified is the group in which you walk? And who is the real leader that guides?
Over the course of the past few days, several have shared their stories about the bench.. pictured here The Bench... and its Views
One was a woman who sat there with a new friend. She talked about sharing with her about the man who the bench was in memory of.... How she used it as an opportunity to bring up Jesus..
Another shared how every time he sits on the bench, he is comforted. His life is rather difficult even on the days he is found on the tees. He said that God is using the bench to remind him that He can rest in Him.
One in particular greatly surprised me... the individual said, "Camey? I know that some people have said they could see Jesus in the eyes of your dad. I finally understand what they really meant. Of course, it took actually taking the time to really sit and listen to Him speak to me."
I confess to having real mixed emotions about the bench at first. And yet.... it is clear... the golf ministry is growing. And I am met with nothing but gratitude...
My mother had been putting decorations on the Christmas tree. She likes to have them "just so".... She had been working on it for some time while dressed in a wind suit and maneuvering right under an air vent blowing heat.
I've never been so thankful to be sitting in the living room working on hubby's computer knowing what she had been up to....
Last night I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with a family friend named Don while waiting for TfG to start. The following is only a bit of his story.... A story of resurrection.
Don used to work at the golf cart store here in the highly secure gated community. He worked tirelessly on individuals' golf carts and even sold a few himself. And yet, every time I would see Don at work.... there was no joy written on his face or alive through his body language.
Oh sure.. Don and his wife were greatly involved in our local church body through a Bible study class that meets on Sunday mornings. And yet, even with that, there was still a lack of real peace at that time in his life... He knew inside it was like he was dead. And it showed all over him on the outside.
When I realized Don and his wife were sitting to my left, I scooted over by Don and said, "What are you up to these days my friend?" And then, I got a glimpse of his face... It was brighter than any lights used to showcase those who were to be on center stage while giving a solo or singing a duet. I could not wait to hear the newest chapter in his story...
Back in July, Don got word that the chaplain at a certain place was ill and would not be able to fulfill his duties any longer. Once upon a time, Don was on staff at different churches. He felt God tugging at his heart. Needless to say, Don is now the chaplain at this certain place...
As Don shared with me about all the changes in his/their life since July, there it was... Joy. Undeniable joy. It was written in the lines and crevices of his older face. He literally glowed. He invited Brother G and I to come and visit him after the start of the new year. It would be his pleasure to give us a tour and dine with us. Nah, it really would be ours...
As he gave me his calling card, I was reminded of the numerous times daddy and I discussed Nicol Sponberg's song "Resurrection". One of the main lines in TfG is: "If God ordained it, He will make a way."
God ordained it. He made a way. A man named Don has been resurrected. We cannot wait to hear all the stories of lives that will be impacted as a result...
Do you need to be resurrected this moment? God can take the pieces in His hands and make you whole again.
The three dinner performances of TfG are now over with. Last night was the kicker as someone gave their life to Christ... What a gift... Dancing time! Cannot wait to see how tonight goes... We're expecting the largest crowd out of all four nights...
There have been so many individuals involved in TfG. It, in fact, at times, has been amazing watching them as they come and go, doing various tasks whether known or unknown. While I have greatly enjoyed being amongst the people in the crowd.... the ones in the kitchen I have come to treasure even more than before. Our student ministry rocks! What a fantastic group we've had representing them the last few nights. Gifts indeed.
Last night as I drove in the driveway, I could see what looked like something at the front door. There was a huge box for my hubby, the boys, and my self. It was from Hoover, aka my mom's boyfriend. Inside was a gift basket filled with many treats. And while I know we will enjoy consuming every last morsel.... the real gift was the reason behind it... Love comes in many forms. And yes, I do hug him every time I see him.
This morning I am found with mixed emotions... The Sunday group is over for now.... Doors open and close. And yet, this particular day I have the incredibly blessing of filling in for a teacher who is unable to be in her class. So, 9th grade girls here I come today.... Some of the very ones that I have spent time with the last few nights at TfG in the kitchen. What gifts!
And yet, as I think about all the gifts of the last few days.... none can compare to the gift of Him. He was born as a babe to Mary and Joseph... He willingly died for you and me.... There is no gift that can ever top that.... no matter what shape and size...
Yesterday, from start to finish, was one of the most tender days.
I was told that there was a woman coming in to see me that was having a really bad morning. As she walked in to the door and up to the desk, her pain oozed out of her face and body expressions.
I stood up and walked around the desk and took her in my arms and hugged her tight. Her eyes started welling up with tears as she hugged me back and then just almost fell weight less in my arms against me. As she walked out of the physical church building, her load was not as heavy. And I was thankful to have been sitting at the desk when she walked in.
I've talked about G and his wife JE before. Yet, the most priceless times with them have just taken place over the last two days. I was questioned one day not long ago about why I make a point of hugging certain individuals every time I see them. That I stop whatever I am doing and hug them.... The individual asking was greatly puzzled and curious - not offended mind you but definitely intrigued because of the certain individuals as well as me. G is one such individual that I was being questioned about. The individual was glad they asked... So was I... Now, that individual gets hugged as well instead of staying at arms length...
I took time to explain to G and JE why I do so when they were talking to me at the desk in the foyer of the physical church building.... Our bond is even more stronger now than before. G walked up to me last night with tears in his eyes and hugged me tighter than ever and said some thing that will stay with me longer than just a moment in time.... A lingering touch on my heart and soul.... not just his and JE's...
When I was not plating food in the kitchen, I was walking through the crowd of people as they were eating and talking amongst themselves. As I walked up to one table with some precious friends at it... a couple of the faces at their table looked familiar but I could not place my finger on who they were. Hugs were given and then introductions around the table were made... This one couple had attended a few of the July 4th celebrations we've been a part of over the years at these dear friends' home. The couple looked me and said, "You're Camey?" And then it dawned on us all... We haven't seen each other since I was physically healed.... Thank You Lord for healing yet again.. Their faces were priceless.
During some of TfG, I was sitting at the desk in the foyer of the physical church building. This woman walked up to me and asked me about one of the ministries our church has... She had just missed one of the meetings down the hill from our main site. She asked me what was going on inside the sanctuary and then if she could sit in on the last few minutes. When she came back out after it was over... she walked up to me and said, "I've been away. My children and I came and then I stopped. We will be back. We need to come back. We'll be here Sunday night." As tears came down her checks, I put my arms around her and her head landed on my shoulder. I had already taken down her name and phone number so the one ministry in particular can get in touch with her.
It is times like these that shows over and over.... That it is more than a hug.. And dear reader, it is far more than any thing I am capable of on my own... There was a time when using my arms and hands was not possible nor my legs and feet... Because of the Great Physician I came to be able to do so again... And it is out of His compassion... mercy.... grace... love..... that I use what I have been given again to give what is not mine alone to keep..
More than a hug... What do you need to give away today? This moment because of what you've been freely given?
Last night was beautiful in many ways. It is no secret that I love what I have the privilege of doing on Wednesday nights especially. With all that is going on with TfG, I wasn't really sure how last night was going to go.... Oh my....
As I stood there at the desk folding linen napkins for the dinner performances starting tonight... one by one they came by. The conversations flowed even in the midst of yucky weather outside and individuals running around in makeup and costumes all over inside.
There's one individual that I had not seen in a couple of weeks. Last night, she made a point of walking up to me and speaking from her heart... An apology was offered to me that blew me away. God is so at work in her life. I pushed her limits even on hugging.. but as she was walking away she said, "Thanks for pushing. Keep pushing." That's Him at work.... I'm only a part of what is happening.... This is where ministry for me is as real as typing on this keyboard.
As more individuals realized how long I was working on folding napkins (only 900 or so)... they started picking up napkins and helping me. This was so cool because it was evident that they wanted to do what they could to help make the dinner performances a success. And at times, that includes folding napkins as well as being on center stage performing. Even a certain doctor walked up and grabbed a few to help....
As I've stated time and time before... our lives are everchanging (it's not two words in my fluid vocabulary of living life) in so many ways... yesterday was no exception... I cannot go into real dets at this time... Yet, it is evident that prayers are being answered in ways that I/we honestly could have never imagined. How AWESOME is HE!
And I am moved beyond mere words. That, dear reader is only possible because of Him.
Tonight is the last time to purchase tickets for dinner performances. It would be my pleasure to help you secure tickets. Please come see me at the main receptionist desk from 6:00 to 8:15 p.m. As someone said to me earlier, "You mean you might actually work tonight?" I love you people....
Yes. Our local church body and its leaders are working hard to address security measures. The protection of any and all persons who are in the physical church building or in the parking lots are greatly important to us. Please keep that in mind when said measures are put into place....
One - The results of God working in our lives. Two - meetings with peeps that I love working with. Three - a lunch date with our oldest son Austin. Four - an email from someone who is always of encouragement to me just because. Five - you dear reader.
May the sun be shining this moment wherever you are at even if it is raining outside.
As Brother G and the boys lovingly pointed out to me.... We won't be home starting tonight through Sunday night. The porch light will be on when we are actually home... You are still invited to stop and visit when we are in the house..
Join Us: If you haven't gotten your tickets yet for Two From Galilee... It's not too late. It will be an amazing time.... Don't miss it... More importantly invite someone who normally might not walk in to a church. The info can be found again here Ticket Sale Vital Information
For those who have asked:
No... Brother G is not singing.. He is going to be with Ms. Sharon cooking in the kitchen. No... I'm not singing... I'm going to be plating food in the kitchen. No... Austin is not singing... He is the lighting guy. No... Travis is not singing... He is going to be one of the servers.. wait staff. No... Parker is not singing. He is going to be doing whatever anyone tells him they need done.
Again.. Don't miss it... Hope to see you and a friend or two... or three... there.....
So.... There was surprise for Brother G today when he came home from the physical church building after a meeting.... The surprise was via email and yet spoke volumes into his heart.... and soul.... and all over his face.
There are times in life when we need to thank individuals who truly make a difference in our lives. And even though I've never met this man personally.... I know him because he knows my husband. And as I stated in part II....God has used this man in our lives...
We talked for a bit via email today. His last response to me was priceless about Brother G. And yet again... I'm thankful that God calls me out of the comfort zones and what might be considered a "NO-NO"..... and as a result not only thanked a dear man but also encouraged the heck out of my husband's soul....
Signed, A Beyond Thankful Wife
Who needs your encouragement today? You just might surprise someone when they least expect it....
Last night was no ordinary Monday night. Brother G was in the big city for his last time until January. The younger boys and I cooked dinner together. As Austin came into the kitchen, there was this whisper that came in to my soul, heart, mind... and yes, of course, ear...
"Talk to the boys now about alcohol from your experiences. They need to hear about this now, not later." - so I did...
Interestingly enough? The younger boys (Travis - 13, Parker - 9) took what I had to tell them far better than what Austin did Sunday night. My halo wasn't as nearly tarnished. In fact, it opened the door for a really great talk with our three sons.. Due to Austin working at the little store in the highly secure gated community, he has had training through the TACB (Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission). He was able to provide his brothers with actual amounts of alcohol per body weight that it takes to be considered drunk. They really listened to him instead of dissing his knowledge on the subject.
After dinner, it was time to take Austin to the physical church building.. He is the lighting guy for Two From Galilee.... We talked along the drive. He told me how proud he was of me for talking to his two younger brothers about the subject. What else was said will stay between us. Let's just say..... God used him to minister to his sister in Christ..... Yes, his mother... But even more importantly, his sister in Christ...
Travis and I spent time talking alone when I got back. He said that he really needed to hear what I had to say because of different individuals involved in his life. We talked about kids he is concerned about given their behavior and especially what they talk about on a daily basis at school. His heart is so big. I also talked with Travis about the fact that I had had sex as a teen. Interestingly enough? The kid showed his mom such amazing grace. He even said that it definitely helped him to know that he really could talk to me about such things not just as a mom but as a sister in Christ. That I'm not some prude who doesn't have a clue what she is talking about first hand.
Parker said that it helped to talk about alcohol because several members of our extended families do drink. And since they do drink when we're around them, it helped explain some of the behavior he was seeing that he did not recognize as being really them...... Wow. He hugged me and thanked me for sharing about my past. Wow again.... We also talked about the fact that just because individuals in our lives drink does not mean that we love them any less or because they have a different stance on drinking than we do.
When Brother G finally made it home.... he shared with me about talking with one of his confidantes. Wise counsel was given about one of the knocks and we're definitely taking it to heart. I, as a pastor's wife, appreciate this confidante more than I could ever tell him. His encouragement to my husband has been immeasurable. He is no doubt one of the voices that God uses to speak into our lives.
I share all this with you dear reader as a part of listening and responding to God... At times it is like peeling back layers of an onion... Oh my.... how it can taste so good when mixed with His love, mercy, and grace.......
How is He stirring up things in your kitchen of life?
Over the course of the last few months especially, things have been somewhat confusing. Times of transition where there are no easy answers... except are there? Times where God requires more of me than ever before honestly....
Warning: The following is raw. Austin and I have had some real in-depth conversations the last 24 hours. On Saturday night, we drove through a city where my past came calling loud and clear. On Sunday night, I shared more with Austin about some of the times I wasn't following God like I should have been. And about the consequences of those actions on my part. He literally called me out about it. Asked why hasn't he heard about that before now - he's sixteen remember? And why others in our student ministry haven't heard about it from me... Like with about the fact that his mother had sex as a teen.... he was mad at me for a bit and then told me to use those experiences to help others. "It might help others to know why you have the position about drinking alcohol that you do." Ouch. My halo fell down again.
Then, this morning, as he was getting ready to go to work at the little store in our highly secure gated community, Austin surprised me with some news. He said, "Mom? I've told my Halo group that I will no longer be able to be their leader." He said that he did that because he was responding to what God told him. He has too much going on right now that is requiring his attention. Something had to give.... it was his Christian Halo clan ministry... His time online is virtually next to nothing now. What kind of leader could he be given that? He's an even better leader now that he has stepped down... then again I'm sort of biased aren't I?
Yesterday, someone said to me, "Camey? You posted about another church knocking at the door. You shouldn't do that kind of thing." Well, frankly.... I/we do not see our current church and any other church that is knocking at our door in competition with each other. We will serve with our current church with joy and with His strength and love until He completely closes that door.... if He even does at all.... One thing He continues to speak to our souls about is being about His kingdom.... That is wherever we may go.... may be.... it does not have to be in a physical church building at all... or with a particular group of people. And remember? We live in a relatively small town any way....
If we truly are His.... listening and responding to Him should be as natural as rain even if it at times it feels more like pulling teeth. There are times when things are confusing... I'm not going to try to pretend that's not the case. And yet, there is peace that when we listen to and respond to Him.... even if we are not sure what colors the walls are being painted..... the foundation is secure.
Are you listening and responding to God this moment?
In the crowd she stands looking so sad yet trying to command a smile. Longing to be anywhere but where she’s found herself. Little children at her feet – wondering where would they sleep tonight?
In the aisle of the store he looks in a daze as he tries to decide. Would it be one can or two? He searches in his pocket – only a couple dollars and some change. Would it be enough to feed his family tomorrow too?
At the doctor’s office riddled in pain, trying not to show the tears, in her gentle ole voice she whispers, “Does anyone truly care?” In a room full of chattering people, no one hears a sound.
Rushing through the busy mall she grabs each item and says “Charge!” “This one is for Jimmy and this one for Jill.” When time to wrap them she tries to remember, “Did we give them these last year?”
Driving down the long highway listening to the roar of the engine, he forgets how long he’s been gone. With what seems like miles to go and needing some rest, he pulls over when to a little town has come.
He walks into the only place he thinks might be welcoming this time of night. With candlelight to usher him in, he hopes that he is right.
He walks up to the front of the room and gets down on his knees. He looks up at the cross and starts to pray, “Father forgive me if you would please? I’ve been away so very long but it’s time now to come home. You’re all I’ve ever needed. I’ll rest in you alone.”
As he gets up off the floor with tears streaming down his face, he finds he is not alone in this tiny little place. For waiting in a line behind him standing oh so near are all the others who have gathered home for Christmas this year.
One by one they start to share of what in life has brought them there. The woman with her little children had been looking for shelter in all the wrong places. The man had not taken seriously his responsibilities with his family finances. The older woman had looked to the doctors to heal her aching heart. Jimmy and Jill’s mother realized she had put everything else above being their mom.
Standing in a circle holding hands they all begin to pray. One by one their loneliness starts to melt away. For when we spend time with God just speaking from our hearts, He is there to listen and always will respond. Circumstances in life may not necessarily change, but how we deal with them through God can make for a better way.
For whether in the good times or the bad, or somewhere in-between, home is where the heart is and where Jesus should be King. For many years ago in a manager a little babe was born - His legacy to give us the greatest gift of all.
So this Christmas may you find where your home truly is? For it does not have to be decorated with gold ribbons and bows to be entered in with His presence.
The moral of this story I hope you will hear. Christmas is not about the tree, Santa Claus, or reindeer. If you’re feeling like you really do not have the spirit of the season, check inside your heart to find out who might be missing.
Well, yesterday I had planned on being gone by 8:00 a.m. this morning. My mother decided she could not go to our dear old friend's Celebration Service. It is being held where my parents were married all those years ago. It honestly was too much for her to handle right now. Yes, she has the boyfriend... but that does not mean she does not miss the man who had been her husband for 44 years especially this time of year.
As I sat in the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. this morning drinking my coffee.... hubby, myself, Travman, and mom all talked about how busy our schedules are this coming week. I came back to our bedroom and opened my Bible and prayed..... Hubby then said to me that he preferred that I did not go to the service for it is not close. That he thought I ought to stay home and rest this morning..... It's past 8:30 a.m. as I am writing this..... Obviously I listened to his wise counsel....
There are times when the dance is fast... Parker did indeed finish reading all 20 books now...... Others, when it is slow.... And hubby just made and served us breakfast....
The Celebration Service will carry on....
This moment, yet again, is made for worshipping and praising God!
Thursday, December 13th Doors open 5:45 p.m. - Simple hors d'oeuvres & music in foyer Dinner seating begins - 6:00 p.m. (seating maximum 300) Dinner begins - 6:30 p.m. Performance Begins - approximately 7:25 p.m. Intermission - approximately 8:15 p.m. Act II begins - approximately 8:30 p.m. Performance ends - approximately 9:10 p.m.
Friday, December 14th Same Schedule as Thursday
Saturday, December 15th Same Schedule as Thursday
Sunday, December 16th - PERFORMANCE ONLY - NO DINNER - FREE Doors open 6:00 p.m. Performance begins at 6:30 p.m. Intermission - approximately 7:20 p.m. Act II Begins - approximately 7:35 p.m. Performance ends - approximately 8:15 p.m.
Other Important Information: Childcare ONLY available for Sunday night performance. (3 and under) Dress? There are fine linens being used along with wait staff for dinner performances. David will be in his tux. Suggestion are business casual to dressy to formal.
You may order online, at the kiosk on Sunday, or call Ms. E or me at the physical church building throughout the week.
Yesterday: Brother G got another phone call. This time a really hard knock on the door. Please pray for God's clear direction. What a special night! TR pulled out all the stops and Linc led us in worship. He sang some of his friend, Charlie Hall, songs, played the cello, guitar, piano.... and of course sang.. Wow. Brother G & I were thankful to be hanging out with the deacons and their wives at their Christmas banquet. Of course, with several others of the ministerial staff as well. And Brother G even won a door prize!
Today: Please call and reserve your tickets for Two From Galilee! They are going fast. Friday night is sold out. Austin is doing the lighting. He says it is amazing! The cost is for the highly quality meal that is being served.
Tonight we will be spending time with hubby's family. His dad is being honored at a retirement dinner for the major company he has worked with for 40 years! We look forward to seeing them and hearing great stories of days and years gone by....
Tomorrow: My mother and I will be attending the Celebration Service for our old friend that passed on. Please continue to pray for all involved.
Tomorrow night we are hanging out again with hubby's parents, sister and her little girl, and one of his brothers and his wife. We haven't seen some of them in a year plus. Two nights in a row. Can't wait!
Correction: Parker realized yesterday while at school that he had not read one of the twenty books. So, he is not finished reading all the Bluebonnet books yet. Thank you Parker for being honest. We're even more proud of you now than before.
There are numerous prayer requests... Please pray specifically today for the P family and the A family. Thank you.
His name is John. He and I were talking as we were waiting for the school bell to ring. I had the pleasure of picking up Parker.... he was there to pick up his son and daughter. He has been on a sabbatical since May. He is a journalism professor at a major university.
One thing that really struck me about our conversation.... John said he totally relates to stay-at-home moms now. He is aching for adult conversations daily. Even though he has been engrossed in his research work, it is met with relative quietness. Their two children are gone for 7 hours Monday through Friday. His wife has a high demand job outside of being a mom.
He also said that it unnatural for him to not be at a job. He has been working since he was 17. He is 49 now. And again, even though he is doing research from his home office, still not the same.
I admire him for his honesty. No wonder he needed to ride 21 miles today, in our 73 degree December weather, to be out and about away from the house.
I wonder how many men can relate to the Sabby Man?
Parker has completed reading all 20 of the Bluebonnet books for the state of Texas. He is the first in his intermediate (4th and 5th) school to do so. Oh, if you've ever heard me talk about the son of ours who almost died 3 times in his first month of life and who doctors say was born two months early.... that son would be Parker. We were told that he would have all types of disabilities. Nope. Not that kid. And actually... he was born when he was supposed to be.
He came home from the NICU after being there his first full month in the outside world. He had to wear a breathing monitor. On Sunday evening, Father's Day, 1998, his breathing monitor stopped working. Parker's dad told me we were not going to call the tech guy out. We stood over Parker's crib, held hands, and prayed. Parker's dad thanked God for the time we had had with Parker up to that time and that no matter what happened during the night, we were thankful for his life. Parker was an exceedingly quiet baby. He rarely ever cried. Even when he did... you could still barely hear him. We went to our bedroom and closed the door. The baby monitor was beside our bed...
The next morning, as I walked in to Parker's room... not a single sound could be heard. And yet....... as I peered over the side of his crib.... there he laid just smiling from ear to ear. We never used the breathing monitor again. For in reality...... monitors are just that... It could not save his life if his time was up. But it wasn't up..... And God is using Parker to this day to inspire the heck out of those who know him. And he loves Jesus with all his heart.....
Thataboy Parker! Thank you also Mark Schultz for the song "He's My Son" that meant so much to us during that time and still does...
Thank You God..... for the gift of reading... for life... for sons...
Especially for Your Son Jesus. For no son could ever truly compare.
On my way home from a meeting at the physical church building this morning, I got the word.An old family friend has passed away. His name was Billy Jo. He called me either his Darlin'Girl or Little Miss Sunshine and would squeeze the heck out of my shoulders with his side hugs. The tears flow because I'm thankful for the life he lived. They also flow because of and for her....
Her name is JoAnne. Billy Jo is her second husband to bury. She is only in her 50's. She has always been an example to me and any one else watching her how a wife should be. She also buried one of her sons shortly after his daddy past away. She and Billy Jo were an unlikely pair and yet they loved each other deeply. In truth, I always laughed watching the two of them together. They were beyond cute and mushy. Having known both of their previous spouses (both of whom were deceased), in some ways made them even more endearing to me. Today, she is a widow yet again.
Another thing about JoAnne has been her unwavering faith in God. No matter what trials and suffering has come her way, her faith still holds secure.
Thank You Lord for Billy Jo and his life. Thank You for JoAnne and her unquestionable testimony of faith through each moment of life in-between the dashes and her own.
Please pray for all connected. Yes, even me. This makes the twelfth person I've been more than remotely close to in my life pass on since 2005. And my faith is secure as ever... and tears flow as natural as dew on the lawn that is evergreen in my soul.
So earlier today, I was called into the physical church building to work for Ms. E. at the main receptionist desk. I said to myself as I sat down in the big black chair, "Wonder what Eugene will have to say to me today?" (No, I don't answer myself... lol)
Sure enough... A few minutes later, there was Eugene at the desk. The conversation had to do with Christmas presents. I shared with him that Brother G normally does not make requests for Christmas presents from me. What he really wants, I cannot buy for him. It is a God thing. Eugene is one of the individuals in Brother G's Wednesday night Bible study class.
An hour or so went by after Eugene left the building. He had gone to Wal-Mart and immediately thought to call me..... He just started talking as soon as I said, "This is Camey. How may I help you?" He responded, "Well, yes. You can help me. There's a 42-inch TV with your hubby's name on it that you need to buy him. I know he would like it." I just busted a gut.
What's funny about Eugene is that he was there the day I was training. Okay... Confession here: I was the President of Future Secretaries of America back in the 80's when I was in high school. There are just some things one does not forget.... Eugene told me that day that he expected me of all people toknow answers to his questions when he calls the physical church building. That with sitting at that desk in particular, I should know every single thing that goes on in the church 24/7. Cough. Choke. Cough.
Ring. Ring. His name is Eugene. And honestly, I'm thankful I do not know every single thing. What I do know about Brother G is really rather simple. Christmas is not about any thing that I could purchase for him myself. The best gift came some 2000 plus years ago. And He was/is better than a wide screen TV.
Every day.... there are moments of thanks and individuals to be thankful for. Here are a few for today:
1) A man named Bob. He handled the widow woman on the other end of the phone with dignity.
2) A man named Taylor. His time today with hubby helped the future not seem so far away.
3) A man named "Camey's husband"..... lol Even though he is in the big city all day today and won't be home until later tonight.... he has listened to his wife every single time he has called. Really listened.
4) Two men... David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. unChristian is more than worth the read.
5) ______________ (fill in your name)
Have you been thankful at least once today? And if not, why?