Book Update!

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An update on the book is long overdue, but truthfully I didn’t have anything new to share.  I’m learning that there is a LOT of behind the scenes parts in motion.  Within the last few weeks two major updates have occurred.  First, I received the proof of the book cover and I am in love with it!  No, I can’t share it yet, but trust me… it is stunning.  Second, I have been walking through another round of edits.  As of today, at least six sets of eyes have scoured my manuscript.  I believe there is at least one more round of edits & some internal design work that will happen before I can get my hands on a physical Advance Readers Copy.

In the mean time, I am also happy to share that I’ve been secretly working on some other books that I have already begin pitching to my publisher and others.  I will have some publisher meetings this July, as well.  It’s exciting to speak with different publishers, who have different audiences, and learn what it is they are looking for in new authors under their imprint.  Hopefully by this fall, I’ll have more exciting news to share.

As of right now, my current book on Women’s Ministry is slated for release in September 2019.  I’ll update if that changes.

Thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me to this point!

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1st Time Guest Questions

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I recently read a list of questions first time guests at our churches are probably asking about their experience when deciding to continue at our church.

As our family has moved a few times, and we have had to search for a new church I didn’t find the list to be too accurate to my own questions.

Yes, I was certainly evaluating the condition of the building, and visible signage that helps direct visitors around the campus is something that matters.  Do I feel safe leaving my children is a big deal.  But, I don’t think I’ve ever expected coffee stations and questioned the quality of the coffee as part of a deciding factor of my attending there.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy camper around the coffee station… but it’s not a make or break for me.  I can bring my own, or even skip it until I get home.

I didn’t get hung up by whether or not the sanctuary was outdated, or if the hand outs were printed on quality paper.  The type of music, and volume, has not mattered.  I’ve sat in services that were 100% hymns and services that equaled a rock concert.  The light levels and temperature never crossed my mind.  Technical difficulties happen.  Maybe because I have some introverted tendencies myself, I don’t worry if people greet me right away or seem overly friendly and welcoming.  I don’t mind taking time to get to know one another and have those friendly greetings.

What surprised me is what is NOT on the list.  Questions I ask, or things I look for when attending a new church as a first time visitor:

  1.   What kind of events /activities do they have for my kids or for us as a family?
  2.   Is there a Women’s Ministry or Men’s Ministry?  (MOPS/Moms groups, too.)
  3.   Is the church body giving matching the church budget requirements?  I am one who loves seeing the giving/budget statements on church bulletins.
  4.   Is there a central location where I can find the information I need to know (online, church info desk, lobby, etc.)
  5.   How many, and what kinds, of small groups or Bible studies are offered?
  6.   What is the community involvement of this church (missions, local, etc.)?
  7.   Can I access their statement of faith, and where they stand on certain issues easily?

A lot of what fell on that list is superficial, and for some people that will be important.  Especially when attracting new believers (or those who are seeking and not confessed believers).  However, those things will not hold someone for very long before the flashy finish starts to fade.  They want to see what the long haul holds.  When our children were small, Children’s Ministry mattered a lot to me… as well as a church that hosted some sort of moms’ group.  Yet, even at those earliest ages, I still looked into the future.  Was there a youth group?   Was there a Women’s Ministry?  I wanted to know that our family could not only be in the church, serve in the church… I wanted to know that we could grow in the church.

It mattered to me that the church had a clear stand on certain issues, un-apologetically, and that we knew without a shadow of doubt the beliefs of our leaders.  The financial stability of the church is a huge gauge on the health of the body.  Not that I expected every week to see an overflow of giving, but that overall the church was stable for longevity.  I wanted to find that the church offered a wide variety of studies that would be a soft landing for a new or young believer… as well as options that dug deeper so that we could spiritually grow within the church.  It was important to us that the church was present in the community versus serving inward.

Better Together

Better Together

Better together is a theme that has been a part of my life for over six years now.  Better together is what brought the Women’s Ministry Council into existence.  For six years now, Women’s Ministry Leaders from my local area have met quarterly.  Regardless of denomination or church size, we meet because we know that we can all serve the Kingdom better if we work together.  Small churches pairing up with large churches, connecting ministries/churches to local organizations, and providing training to an area of ministry that lacks support and resources that other ministries have access to.

Better together is what has prompted Pastor cohorts & leadership breakfasts.  Better together is what started movements like Christ Fellowship‘s “Church United”.  Bringing together church leadership in a way that is not only beneficial to the church & communities we serve, but something that is Biblical.  In Acts 15, we learn of the Council of Jerusalem, where all of the Apostles and Disciples who had gone out to fulfill The Great Commission gathered so that they could be better together.

They had recognized that as they went out into the various cities and towns, they were not all delivering the same details in the message.  It created confusion, disruption, and disunity among people.  By coming back together, and working through the details as a group they were able to come to a unified consensus.  They realized the value of working together, coming to a unified vision and message, and how unity would impact their credibility among the people.

Recently, my home church took a vote to join a network of churches within our denomination.  It is a church with multiple campuses, and we were given the opportunity to become part of the family & become one of their campuses.  I found this to be very appealing.  Why?

  1.  For six years, I’ve already had a heart toward the fact that we are better together.  We can do more, advance the kingdom more, reach more together than we ever can on our own.  We can move further, faster.  This partnership was exactly what I had done through the Women’s Ministry Council, on a larger scale.
  2. I’ve always recognized the value of shared resources.  Whether it be staff/volunteers, tangible resources, space, or experience … what we have, that can be gifted and shared with others, is a blessing to us all.   I experienced this outside of the church, when I worked for an international retail chain.  Many problems were solved in the ease in moving people & resources that were in excess at one location to a location in need.  It only make sense to have that in the church.  We’ve never been called to lead groups in isolation.
  3. Due to my research on the Jerusalem Council, this partnership felt like a return to a Biblical model than a departure from our identity.
  4. I could also step back and look at all the events & happenings that led to this moment, and I could see God’s fingerprints everywhere.  My spirit felt peace even among the uncertainty of exactly how and when things would unfold.

When the church gathered to vote, it was almost unanimous in favor of the partnership.  I wasn’t the only one who had recognized that we work better together.  Many were feeling the same things, and have the same excitement for our future with Family Church.  I am excited to witness not only what we glean from Family Church, but also what we are able to give to their leadership.

What God has brought together, let no man put asunder.

How can YOU be better together?

Start a cohort or group of other leaders in the same ministry field as yourself.  Determine how often and how long to meet based on what works for you.   Rotate who leads the meeting to take the pressure off one person doing it all.

Band together with other local churches to have regular leadership training, conversations, or meet local organizations in your community that could use your help in support, finances, or getting public awareness.

Be a mentor, seek a mentor, or both.  Find someone whom you can share your experience with, and/or seek someone who is willing to share their experience with you.  Being better together is not always about large groups but also one on one.

When Your World Stops

This post is unaccompanied by any flashy graphics or glorious pictures.  It just is, what it is.  I’m ok with that.  I’m more ok with that today, than I would have been six months ago.  Six months ago, I worked with excellence and with a check list.  Things were systematically executed with precision.  Six months ago, my life was a lot different.  I can easily get wrapped up in the details, or trying to present perfection lest I find myself under the judgement of whomever stumbles upon this page.

Six months ago, I didn’t have 2 extra children.  Six month ago, I didn’t have a little girl in my home that was angry.  Not moody.  Not upset.  Not sensitive.  Angry.  Uncontrollably angry.  I had no idea when the call came, when we opened our doors, that I would end up tossing everything on my calendar aside and dedicating most of my time to a child who was not my own.

I’ve learned a few things during this time.

I’ve learned that I can say no, more often than I had in the past.  I’ve learned that I have more available time than I thought.  I’ve become keenly aware of how blessed we are that our children are healthy, both physically and mentally.  I’ve seen how I have taken them and time for granted.  I’ve learned that the furniture that sat in my home & at the time felt like such a “need” and is now displaced into the garage, is the least of things I need to be concerned about.  I’ve watched my budget shift and prioritize my spending, because we have two extra mouths to feed and bodies to clothe.

In one phone call, my world as I had known it… stopped.  And, guess what?

I’ll survive the lack of blog posts and social media shares.  You have survived with out my wisdom, humor, or teaching.

I’ve learned that my friends, my circle, my tribe… they are right there when we needed them.  The meals they brought, the conversations they sat through as I vented, financial gifts that we never asked for or anticipated… but came at the exact moment we needed them…. God’s continual presence & provision during this time…

My world stopped.  A new world begun spinning.  In the end, I believe we will be all the better for it.  God wastes nothing.

Giving Thanks for Friends

Giving Thanks

Right now, I’m in the thick of a trial.  I didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t expect it.  I was not prepared for it.  Any given day, if you were to check in on me, I’d waver between two responses.  “I’ve got this” and “I can’t do this any more” volley back and forth.

I do have a friend who checks in on me almost daily.  I sent her a text message a few days back, just a quick thank you for riding along side me on this roller coaster ride.  She knows me so well that the actual sound of my voice alerts her to what kind of day I am having.  She notices the little changes that others might not even catch, for her they are a radar to my emotional state.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,

and the pleasantness of a friend springs from

their heartfelt advice.  Proverbs 27:9

And then she will let me talk through it, whatever I am feeling.  She affirms me, or gets me thinking, or simply makes me laugh.

I am blessed.

Hashimotos Thyroiditis – Update

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For those who have been following my Hashimotos journey, there is a little update.  My protocol that I’ve been adhering to is still working for me, but I still feel like I could feel better.

So, I’m going to be trying these 3 new supplements starting this week.  They arrived just today, so I’ll begin tomorrow.

If these work it should greatly reduce the number of individual supplements I’m taking (since these are blends).  But, there are some additional supplements in these blends I’ve not taken yet and do show up in a lot of my research.

In the Thyroid Adrenal Reset Complex there is magnesium, which currently I’ve been getting via magnesium lotion.  I have already been taking Bovine Thyroid Powder (instead of synthroid) but this TARC blend also has Bovine Parotid, Bovine Thymus, Bovine Adrenal Gland, and Bovine Spleen.  That all sounds super gross, ha, and I never thought I’d see myself taking all that.  But, if it will continue my progress of healing and getting back to my old self… so be it.   I have to laugh, because on the package it says “vegetarian capsules” but that is literally just the actual capsules.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is not for you.  😉   And, there are some other new things in this that I’ve not taken before.  I grabbed this on Amazon.

In the T3 Conversion Booster, it has Iodine.  In my research, I have seen those who swear by the addition of Iodine and those who say avoid it.  I’ve been in the latter camp, just out of precaution.  We’ll see how this goes.  I am excited that this contains Ashwagandha root, which has been something I’ve been intending to add to my protocol but just didn’t want to take another pill.   Also equally interested in seeing how Rosemary extract & guggulsterones will impact my over all health.

In the Power B Complex, it contains a lot of the individual supplements that I was already taking.

The plan for right now is to stick with my natural thyroid replacement (currently taking Thyrovanz, just switched from Armor a few months ago) and take just these 3 other pills.  This would be a HUGE reduction from my daily pile.  It includes my Vit Bs, Vit D, Selenium, Biotin, Folate, Vit A, Vit E, Zinc, Vit C, and potassium that I was already taking in other supplements.

The TARC and T3 Conversion Booster are instructed at two times daily.  The Power B Complex is one time Daily.  So that means in the morning, I’d be taking just 4 pills!  Then, just 3 in the evening.  A HUGE REDUCTION.

I’ll report back how I’m feeling in a week.

Wrestling in the Desert

 

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And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

Genesis 32:24

A few days ago, I watched over a young girl pacing in our yard wrestling with herself.  The inner turmoil of what she was facing was evident in all of her mannerisms.  She paced back and forth, torn between two directions.  If she went one direction… she was in full defiance to my direction but still maintained control over her life.  If she chose the other,  she would be giving up her own will and submitting to the will of the one who was trying to steer her in the right direction.

She paced.  She argued with herself.  She would glare in the direction she wanted to go, would pretend to not hear my voice.  She knew what she wanted to do, but understood it would come with consequence.  The battle was consuming her at times.  She kicked at the rocks, balled up her fists.  She screamed at me.  She cried.  She fought.

As I reflect on that day, now, I’m seeing a glimpse of what it like for the Father to look down on his stiff necked people.

Wars waging inside of us.  The flesh battling the spirit.  Looking at the pathway that gives us our greatest desires that come with some of the deepest pains, or the pathway where we submit and lay it all down at the foot of the Cross and surrender to God’s will.

She screamed at me, “I hate you.”

I replied back, “But, I still love you.”

No matter how many times we fall under the pressures of the flesh. No matter how difficult the trials and the tribulations are.  No matter how difficult it is to understand and comprehend the things that happen in this life.  No matter how many times in our wrestling with God we cry out “I hate you”….

The Father says, “But, I still love you.”