Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thanking God for an amazing night!

Last night, we had a church dinner. We usually only have them on holidays or special occasions. But this dinner was just to bless the community. Our church meets at the civic center of our small town, which is in the heart of downtown. Dick and I have had a burden for this small area of working class families. Over the past 5 years, a few families have visited, several kids have become regulars or come when they feel like it. But nothing like the vision God has given us.

If you have worked in a church for any length of time, you know that just having a desire and working hard does not always draw the people you are trying to reach. Many times, you plan, work, pray and then nobody or very few people come to your event. It is hard not to give up. You pray for wisdom and keep working. That is what we have been doing for the last 5 years.

After our Christmas dinner, two of our members, were impressed to start having once a month dinners to bless the community. It was a great idea, but a little scary. What if we invested all this time and money and then nobody came. We decided to try one or two and then decide if we would continue.

Well, last night was the first one. We planned for 100 people. Fifteen minutes before we were scheduled start, we had about 15 church members there and maybe 15 guests. We were thinking about what we were going to do with all that chicken. 6:30 came and the people started pouring in. We lost count at 75. Remember, only 15 of that 75 were our church, and that was including 6 kids. The rest were families from our little downtown. There were smiles all around ! It was a sweet evening of good food and good conversation. One of our church members stated it best, " We wanted people to feel the love of God and I think they did. There was such a sweet presence here tonight and I think that people felt it."

One family in our church, accomplished in a few days, what we have been trying to do for years. The L's own the convenience store across the street from the civic center. It is the only one downtown, so just about everyone who live downtown shops there regularly. Almost all of the people that came to our dinner, came because the L's invited them. It was wonderful to see Mrs. L light up as her friends came through the door and she hurried to greet them. She made sure they had enough to eat and introduced them to the pastor and friends.

I can't wait until our dinner next month!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mandi plays Jackson Blues

We just decided to add the rhythm tracks today. Fun!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mandi singing and playing Honey Dew

I have changed

I have never considered myself a dog or animal lover. We did have a few cats and dogs when I was growing up, but mostly, I just hated having to clean up after them. I vowed to never have an indoor animal when I grew up. My kids came along and at first, a pet was out of the question. I was too busy taking care of them to take care of a pet. I knew that the day would come that we should get a dog for the kids, but I was not looking forward to the day.

About 7 years ago, Dick told me that his mom wanted us to come over because she had a surprise for us. The kids were thrilled to see a 4 month old basset hound puppy sniffing around Memaw's front yard and even more excited to find out that she was ours. She was an outside dog, but I still got mad because she knocked over Mandi all the time. She eventually outgrew that habit and the kids started playing with her more and were proud of her because she was so cute and funny.

By the time she was about 4 years old, we began letting her in the house when we were playing with her and she did fine. Grace started taking Rosie on regular walks and they all played with her more and dressed her up and played chasing games with her.

When Rosie was 6 years old, she was playing with the kids and hurt her back and became paralyzed in her back legs. What followed was 2 1/2 gut wrenching months of hoping, praying and working my tail off. I did things I never thought I could or would do, all because the vet said there was hope she might get better. Her last visit to the vet, was sad, but obviously had to be made.

Last week, I was talking to a friend, and realized for the first time, how much I appreciated all that Rosie taught me. She showed me that I was a stronger person than I thought I was. That I could see what needed to be done, find out how to do it and do it. I could do gross jobs. I could do a job, even if I wasn't an expert at it. It needed to be done and I was the one to do it. She stretched me as a person, in a different way than having kids did.

She changed my kids, too. They learned about compassion, first hand. They learned that Rosie was still the same Rosie, just not able to move her back legs. They also learned that we do what needs to be done, even if it is unpleasant. They learned how much Rosie meant to them and what a miracle the ability to walk is, even for a dog.

Now, in about one month, we will be bringing home an 8 week old boxer puppy named Lyla. We have been reading and watching videos about how to choose a breed, find a puppy, and train a puppy. I have gained an appreciation for a good breeder/owner who gives the puppy a good start in life. I keep finding myself being excited about things I never thought I would be excited about. And the best part is that I am sharing it with my kids. We are excited together and it is a beautiful thing.