Friday, November 10, 2006

Bundle of Joy


It's been so long! So much has happened & so much is still happening. These are very exciting times!

Beck's beautiful baby girl was born - Taylor! She's so cute!

My kitchen has been completely completely finished & well-used for quite some time. It looks great and it's a joy to use! We even laid down new flooring in our living room, hallway & bedroom - which is a really nice departure from our poorly soiled & stained nearly white carpet!
The floors are now a cherry color & look beautiful! My husband is quite a handy-man. Of course he borrowed some help from our good friends, but I'm always impressed!

I've switched jobs - now I'm a Customer Service Rep.for Vox Printing. The company I'm with is so great! They treat employees like family & even celebrate each & every birthday with homemade dessert for everyone! Truely a switch for me, and so much less stress - really a welcome change.

But the best news of all......We're expecting a beautiful baby! April 23! We still don't know whether we're having a boy or a girl, but we will be so thrilled either way. We found out on vacation. We were on a road trip & actually made it all the way to Canada - where we found out!

I just wanted to share my BIG NEWS! =) Not sure if anyone even checks this anymore, but it helps keep me up to date w/ my own life - which is a good thing!

That's it for now! - M

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

question -1

Can I ask a questions that’s been hovering around in my mind & on my heart lately?

To be honest, I don’t even know that I know how to pose the question correctly, but I’ll start by saying, Why do we as humans feel the need to be “cool”? Or to clarify my question – where does that fit in with what God has called us to do with our lives?

We are asked to be all things to all people. My question is what does that mean exactly? I think as Christians we can not be all things to all people. We have to be able to relate to everyone with the love that Christ has shown to us, but if we were to truly relate we would just be selling out to the desires and temptations that are all around us rather than showing the ways that walking with God has transformed us.

How do we convince ourselves that being “cool” is what God has intended for us?
Recently I was asked if I ever desired a life contrary to the structured life I have now. Whether there were ever times I wished I could just cut loose and do all of the things I’m not “supposed” to do, and where perceptions wouldn’t matter.

To be honest I think that our cultural values tell a lot about what we perceive to be right and wrong, but that despite the fact that – yes- at times it would be nice to think about not having to worry about perceptions – it would at the same time be dangerous. I believe that I’ve been called to serve something greater than myself – and that I’ve been called to live a life that is greater than my own. I now have to live with a sense of responsibility for my actions – lest they become a stumbling block to someone I come into contact with.

Is this a burden? Is this a weight? Yes, sometimes, but when I think of the responsibility I have as a follower of Christ, I am faced with a reality. The reality is that it is my joy to be obedient in following and not in creating that stumbling block for others. If I am going to be willing to go into places and build relationships with people who do not know Christ intimately, I feel like I need to be willing to stand in contrast to the ways of the world so that I am not a source of confusion.

Lately I’ve bee finding myself in discussions with friends about what they think about certain things like “smoking, drinking, and tattoos” for Christians. The answers come back in variety of formats – from a simple “no” to “yes, and I do those things on occasion” – when asked “why?” the answer comes back, “ Because I think it is just unbelievably cool.” I don’t think that’s a fair answer. I think millions of people drink because they want to be perceived as “cool”. How does that make you cool? It is an image that we have given that title to.

The tricky thing is – when people are wanting to start ministries in unconventional places to meet with non-Christians how do we come off as sincere when we are there not doing any of the “cool” things – and making them feel awkward because we are watching them do those things? At the same time I think that once a person takes a step toward Christian obedience certain things should be re-examined. Do any of those things in and of themselves make someone not a Christian? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think drinking a glass of alcohol is going to condemn someone, but at the same time – it is such a fine line that you are walking – and for what purpose would someone desire to follow Christ? If they were going to be able to live the same life they were living now and claiming Christ – wouldn’t that be seen as hypocritical? That is the fine line – between hypocrisy and “cool”.

I am praying my way through this as we have been really seeking ways to meet non-believers. This is not something I’m comfortable with yet. Please give me your insights or let me know if I’m making absolutely no sense at all. I think if we completely withdraw from these places we are running the risk of building up Christian walls and Christian clubs, but depending on how we act we are running the risk of either being seen as looking down on others or being hypocritical.

Insight from my friends would be appreciated.

In Him, Mandy

Monday, February 6, 2006

Update for you.....


This is for a few special people – and you know who you are- because few people even know that this site exists. =) Where do I begin when it’s been so long???

Things are going very well right now. Becky had her baby on Monday, January 30, 2006. Taylor Jane is beautiful just like her Mommy & Daddy & I can’t wait to be able to watch her grow up. My network of babies that I care about & am thrilled about getting reports on is rapidly growing! Corban is beautiful & will soon be getting a sister or brother & my good friends were just blessed with 3 beautiful children- Tony, Lisa & Junior!
All of these kiddos are soooo extremely precious to me –almost to the point that I want to cry. I really take great pride in these children – even though I had nothing to do with making them the way they are….they are a tremendous blessing to me. Just want you all to know that! If I can put up pictures with permissions - I will do that – shortly.

Work is going good. I’m busy as busy can be, and I guess that speaks well about the business my company is doing. =) (More later on this topic).

Clint & I have been using video lately, that’s why I haven’t been posting many pictures, but I promise I’ll get back to pics as there seems to be a need for them now.

The house is moving right along. We’ve finished the bathroom & kitchen – Clint finished the tile & we’ve replaced the peach tile that was on the window sills with white marble. Clint gave me the best surprise I could have asked for on my last business trip. I was gone for 5 days and during that time Clint, Adam & Marlene worked tirelessly mudding, texturing, painting and glazing the walls in our kitchen. Now it looks as though I’m living in Italy & it is just beautiful! (Pictures can’t even do it justice, but I’ll try).

Speaking of Italy, Jenn came back from Italy with a shiny new gem…on her finger! =) Yep, she went away and came back engaged to an Italian – Gieuseppi (sp?) – and we are very excited for her. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him soon – as I’ve already heard so many good things about him. Jenn has been staying with us for a while, and it’s been nice having her around for a while.

Speaking of having her around for a while--- there is one girl I’m going to be missing a lot pretty soon. Sarah is leaving this month for Heidelberg, Germany. She’ll be gone for around 7 months! I can’t believe the time has already come. I will miss her so much, but I am so excited for her and the experience she is about to embark on. Study abroad is a great adventure – and one I’d recommend to most anyone. (But if you go, guard yourself, as you’ll undoubtedly learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. And you might not always like what you find….changes will ensue). Sarah is a star though, she’ll probably make fast friends with a few good Germans and I hope she gets to take some time to tell my friends hello as well!!!

Other news? I’m so tired! This weekend I had my church youth girls over to stay for a “girl’s night out”. We had a great time – which started with painting Ryan’s house (our new worship leader at church & good friend of Clint & I during college) for a group project –( we only finished one hallway in 3 hours!!) and from there we went on to my house to make home-made pizza – each girl brought an ingredient – and it was wonderful. From there – over to Britton & Dee’s (the youthpastor’s house) for a dip in their hot tub (which felt really good after painting). After that we went back to my house for talking & games. At around 2:30 or 3:00am some girls wanted to sleep and some wanted to stay up – so I proposed a video….and after settling on one – the night took an unexpected turn and we ended up watching Clint’s & my (somewhat spastic) wedding video – so I decided to stay up too & point out who different people were & explain what all was going on. That was actually a lot of fun to see again. Then I finally went to bed close to 4am, and then woke up early to fix breakfast and organize the procession to the church in time for Sunday school.

I hope everyone had a great time. I did – even though I’m so exhausted today. I think it was worth it. And, hopefully before the week is over…I’ll be able to catch up.

And with that….another week begins…please pray for me this week as I work on wrestling through some new thoughts. Pray that I will be given clear direction and guidance and that I will be receptive & open to what God is telling me. Pray that God will renew my strength and desire – that I will have the stamina to pursue him ferociously. I will pray the same for all of you. Please also let me know if there are more specific ways that I can be praying for you.

In Him,