Friday, December 31, 2010

On the Eve of a New Year

New Year's Eve 2010 - wow, what an eventful year. I started the year in Wyoming with my man - I love him more every year. We have such great times together. The next week we rescued my Pit Bull/Boxer mix from the animal shelter and I am absolutely crazy about that dog. I took a couple of mission trips to Laredo and went to Peru and India within just a few weeks of each other. That was crazy. I got my first gig as a paid writer and I will be published in 2011. Check that one off the bucket list, though I seriously hope to do it again. Johnny and I completed a 20-week study of the book of Matthew that we started in '09. In '11 we are digging into the book of Judges. We took a long road trip with our kids to Orlando and Georgia in the summer and remembered all the good times we've had on roadtrips as a family - although we parted with our memory-filled gold Suburban. The Black Pearl has been a fine substitution.

I've learned a lot in 2010. In some ways it was a hard year and in many ways a fabulous one! I'll send another one off to college in '11 and I have mixed emotions about that. All-in-all, I'm looking forward to a new year -- no resolutions this year because I never tend to keep them. But, I am anticipating what God has for my family and myself and am thankful for what He has already done in us and for us.

Blessings to you and yours and a very Happy New Year!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

It's Christmas Eve - one of my most favorite days of the entire year. We just had our first Christmas eve jam session - Jacob on drums, Josh on bass, Jessica on the cowbell, Johnny on tamborine, and me on the keyboard. It was totally fun for me. Yeah, we had the old Baptist hymnal out just playing those familiar Christmas caroles. We've been in the kitchen making our snacks for tonight and now the kids are upstairs watching a movie and Johnny and I are about to start getting ready for the Christmas eve service at church. The weather outside is frightful - cold, rainy and dreary - but inside it is truly delightful! I am super thankful for my family and all that God has provided for us. 2011 will bring some big changes to our household. We will soon have another person living here and we'll be thinking about moving our Jess off to college at the beginning of the fall semester. God is good, He is so good.

A couple of weeks ago, our church choir and sign (language) choir had our Christmas service at church. One of the songs had words something like this: one king brought the gold, one king brought the myrrh, one king brought the frankicense, and one King brought the hope of the world. Yeah, the hope of the world, that's why we celebrate. That's why we get upstairs in our music room and play music and spend time together and eat delicious food and share gifts with one another. (although, as time goes on, the gift receiving for me does not mean near as much as just spending time with my family - besides the gift of hope, it is the greatest gift)

Hey, have yourself a very, merry Christmas! God bless you and yours with His richest blessings!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


family pic from Christmas card photo day

It's Monday morning of Christmas week! woohoo!! We took our travel trailer, the Wildwood, out to the lake near our house for a few days so we've been camping, sort of, on and off since Thursday. It was nice to sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows and relax. The highlight of the camping trip, however, had to be when the girls' team came from behind to win bocce ball. Yeah, it was awesome! And yesterday we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at American Airlines Center. Amazing!

Decorating done. check. The staff Christmas brunch was here at our house last week. check. Christmas cards have all been sent. check. Mostly done with shopping...just waiting on the UPS man for a couple of items. We have a couple of family tradition-type things to do this week and I do have to make one more trip (I hope only one more) to the grocery store. All-in-all, it should be a glorious week.

I am totally thankful for a great 2010. In some ways it has been a super, hard year. The fall turned out to be probably both one of the best and one of the most difficult in recent years. In fact, I tried to write a blog a couple of weeks ago about the fog (the only word I can think of to describe it) I seemed to be in. I didn't post it, or finish it for that matter, because it was just too depressing. I tried to describe it to a friend and she asked me if it was spiritual. I get so frustrated when people say they are "burned out" in ministry -- where is that in Scripture? Yet, we also see those times when Jesus retreated. He went to be alone with the Father. Listen, if the only Son of God needed that then we, as mere mortals, do too. Absolutely, without a doubt. So, I took a couple of weeks off from teaching my class - thankfully, I have a couple of ladies that I can count on to pinch hit for me on occasion. I rested both physically and in God's Word. I wasn't prepping for a class, a mission trip, or a study that I will be teaching. I just soaked it in for me. I've been doing a word study on the word rescue and it was been a breath of fresh air - maybe more like a resuscitating breath, actually. I'm ready for all the fun of Christmas and the celebration of the bringing in of the New Year. I'm looking forward to what 2011 has in store and am anticipating what God will bring for my family and myself.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another One Turns 18

Today Jessica turns 18. We were having our family Christmas card photo taken the other day and Jessica wanted her picture taken with this leaf. Jessica likes the outdoors and the ability to enjoy God's creation. I think Jessica looks more like me (our little girl pics are so similar) but she has her dad's personality. Oh yeah, big time! Jessica is a born-leader and is a people-person. She is loyal and friendly and compassionate. She loves basketball - particularly women's basketball. Yes, I am a fan of Baylor women's basketball and Jessica is too but she's a bigger fan of UConn. She would really like a women's team to hold the record for most consecutive wins. She's fun and complementary and thoughtful. One of the biggest things I admire about Jessica, though, is her strong and determined faith. She thinks deep thoughts about spiritual things. She asks questions and wants to know what she believes and why. She is concerned about the lost and unreached people in the world.

Before too long Jessica will make her college decision. She will finish her senior year as captain of the basketball team and President of the Student Council. She will collect her awards, go on her senior trip, and graduate from high school. Most likely, she will work at camp again this summer. I'm not rushing it - believe me, I would love to slow.down.time. It could go at a turtle's pace and I would be happy. But, the reality is, that this precious girl will leave the nest and pursue what God has for her. I'm happy about that. Really, I am. I just can't imagine life without her here. She lights up our home.

So, happy 18th birthday, Jessica! May God pour out His richest blessings on you! You are an absolute joy in my life. I love you!

Jesssica's mom, Jeanette

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

It's Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving. We took our annual extended family Thanksgiving camping trip this past week. Our favorite spot is Tyler State Park and we returned there this year. It was a glorious week. The first three days were warm - I started to type "unseasonalby warm" but, in Texas, it can be warm just about any day of the year - and then on Thursday, Thanksgiving day, Johnny and I started out on a jog in the woods with our dog. It had been sprinkling a little on and off all morning and we had the airconditioner on in the Wildwood. It started sprinkling but we thought it might stop so we kept going. Mistake...big mistake. Instead of stopping sprinkling it started raining and the wind picked up - we could feel the temperature dropping as we headed back to our campsite. The wind blew the multi-colored leaves onto the path ahead of us and it was incredible. Beautiful. By lunch-time (and we ate outside anyway) it was down-right cold. And raining and wet and miserable. But, all in all, it was a fun camping trip and I am thankful for the chance to go.

I am thankful for a good many things this year. Really, I have much to be grateful for. After spending days in the Andes Mountains of Peru and in India, I recognize that I am abundantly blessed. I am thankful for health and love and family and church and friends and freedom and God and abundant life. I am so grateful for my comfortable home and my home away from home, the Wildwood. I am extra thankful for my comfy bed after my 2 recent trips overseas as well as the yummy food we have here. I am thankful for the ability to worship and hear God speak through His Word into my life.

Hope you had a great holiday - it's back to reality tomorrow!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Unexpected Testimony

It's the last day in India -- well, except for a few hours I will spend in an airport in Delhi tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I will have, at least, started on my journey back to America. I am totally ready to head back and I can't wait to see my family. This has been a hard trip for a number of reasons. I got the biggest blessing of the whole trip at the women's conference yesterday. Halfway through the conference, a blind girl sang a song then a couple of women gave a testimony. The first was a pastor's wife here in India and the other was a lady who lives in the city. She started sharing about how God had been working in her life -- she, of course, was speaking in Hindi so I had to wait for the interpreter to say each phrase in English -- and then she talked about something I said about my grandmother at the women's conference TWO YEARS AGO. First of all, wow, she remembered that from 2 years ago. Second of all, since that time my grandmother has died and so that made it extra precious to me. My translator was sitting down the row for me and she leaned forward to catch my eye to make sure I realized that the lady giving the testimony was talking about something I taught about 2 years ago. The lady said a little more about what I taught about and how she applied it to her own life. I was sitting there trying to compose myself because it was my turn when her testimony was over. The main point of the whole thing was about how God gives all of us different gifts, talents, and abilities and He uses us in different ways according to the ways He has gifted us.

So, here's the deal - we never know whose life we might impact, when we might really make a difference in somebody's life. Sometimes we will get the unexpected privilege to actually find it out and sometimes, maybe often times, we will never know. All we can do is to be faithful to obey to go and do what God has called us to go and do.

In the end, I am so thankful that I got to hear that testimony and I was blessed abundantly more than anyone else in that room yesterday! This lady's son is a translator in the medical camp this week and he came up to me this afternoon and told me his mom was the one who gave the testimony. I was so glad I got to talk to him and tell him how much it meant to me (he speaks great English, btw) since I didn't get to talk to his momma yesterday.

I'm heading home tomorrow and I can't wait to see my family! As always when I return from India, I have a new appreciation for all the material things God has given me and my family. And, I will be so thankful to not hear honking horns, to eat beef (I am a Texan, afterall), to put ice in a nice glass of sweet tea, and to sleep in my own comfy bed! I will be glad to not have to put on a long skirt, to not be drenched in sweat, and to not have to drive one hour each way to the conference center in terrifying traffic. I will be glad to celebrate thanksgiving with my family and extended family - I will feel even more grateful for that delicious turkey my brother will fry, the dressing my mom will make, and the freedom to worship without fear of persecution. And, a special, unexpected testimony will continue to encourage me, I am sure, for weeks and weeks to come.

Serving the King in India,

Jeanette

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Respect, or Lack of It

I typed a simple but true statement on my fb yesterday: I'll be in India the same time as the President. We won't be in the same city and, obviously, not in the same hotel since they've booked their entire place for security reasons. Your tax dollars hard at work, people. I got some replies and after Jessica got home from school (and posted a reply as well, btw) she commented that I was getting some interest in my status. She happened to be writing a paper for her dual-credit English class which she titled "A Certain Decline" and that led us to a conversation about respect and whether or not I should delete my status, make my own comment to it, or do nothing.  The paper is about the decline of respect for authority in our country. I'm not saying that any of the comments posted on fb were showing a lack of respect - I'm just writing my thoughts following a conversation I had with my daughter.

I think respect has become one of those words that has lost some of its value because we throw it around so much. It's like love - we love macaroni and cheese, we love our Texas Rangers, we love our spouse and children. But, really, we love God. There are people who think they deserve respect just because they are breathing but they haven't necessarily done anything to earn respect. There are people who think you must respect them and those they agree with but fail to show respect for others. It's all a one-way street for some people.

Take, for instance, the liberal media. Watching MSNBC or the  tv show The View is like watching the movie Mean Girls. Granted, I don't watch either but I've seen clips on my only source for the news, FoxNews. But, by all means, according to those people, don't say anything negative about our current president. If you do, you might be labeled a racist or ignorant or something similar.

Here's what I believe, I don't have to agree with the political views of any elected official. I don't have to agree with my pastor or the local police department. But, these people have done something to earn respect and it is my duty to show respect to the office each holds. We can't just respect people in authority when we agree with them. I guess that is why I bawled like a baby (ok, that might be an exaggeration but those of you who know me know I cry at the drop of a hat) when the former Presidents Bush came at to throw out the first pitch at the World Series the other night at the Ballpark in Arlington. I loved it, loved it (yes, I am using the love word and I mean it) that they got such a great welcome. And, as I noted on my fb status, George W Bush rocked it - he totally threw a strike to Nolan Ryan at home plate! Those that insist we be tolerant and show respect to some didn't, and continue to not, show respect to our former president and anyone else in authority that they happen to not agree with.

So, Jessica and I decided that I should quote some Scripture as a comment to my own fb status. We took parts of verses from Romans 13. I didn't do it as a rebuke to anyone who posted on my status but as a reminder to myself of my own obligation to live the way in which Christ instructs me to live. Sometimes that is really hard. My next fb status was a quote from Jessica, "Always end with Scripture. It trumps every argument."

You know, if we - believers and followers of Jesus - really lived what we say we believe, lived our lives according to Scripture, I wonder what the world would look like. Would we be more loving, more caring, more forgiving, more respecting? Would we be so busy going and making disciples that some of the petty stuff we get hung up with wouldn't even matter? Would we be more concerned with modeling respectful living to our children than getting the last word in or voicing our distaste with everything that irritates us? 

I don't know about you but I needed a gut-check on this one. Like our pastor always says, "If you can't say amen, say ouch!" I'm saying both today.

Serving the King,

Jeanette
 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Study Time

It seems a natural thing to me that our women's conference in India this year would be from the book of Matthew. I have spent so much time over the past couple of years studying it that I have about a 1,000 lessons that I could potentially teach from that gospel. Ok, I am exaggerating just a bit but, really, I have learned so much from the book and I'm excited to share it in another venue. (Even though I am completely wrapped up in Judges right now getting ready for Fusion in January - this year Johnny and I plan to teach a co-ed class together!)  Just this morning I have had to adjust our conference speakers and topics a little bit and that's a tiny bit stressful but I feel confident that it's going to work out and I am praying God's blessings on the women we will encounter.

My challenge today is to finish up my own outlines. It's really hard for me to stay focused on this one activity because (1) it's election day & I want to listen to the news - it's a BIG election day; (2) Jessica is home sick and she's filling out residence forms for college so I've had to dig out shot records & health insurance info and help answer questions; (3) I still have errands to run, laundry to do, packing to think about and that distracts me; (4) Jacob got his driver's permit today. Ok, that last one is not distracting me from study. It's just what's going on today so I thought I would include it. Jacob is, afterall, the last to start driving and it's kind of a big deal. We've been doing the home taught driver's ed and he's had to read and listen to me and take practice tests. He already thought that was a lot of trouble. When I told him this morning we still had about 26 hours of classroom time plus the driving time he was irritated - he thought we already finished the teaching part...hahahahaha...boy, is he gonna hate the hours and hours we have left to do.

Back to work for me....

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Love, Sweet Love

I pulled my coffee mug that I bought at Refugio in Peru last month down from the cabinet and filled it with delicious Starbucks coffee my husband made for me before he left to go coach his Upward team this morning. I was heading for my home office when I heard my cellphone, that ringtone I get when someone is sending me a text message. It was a friend sending me something she read in her Bible study this morning. It was obviously from whatever Bible study material she is using and I don't know the author but here it is, "Genuine love is a love for others that finds its source in your desire to love God even more." That so reminds me of what the Apostle John wrote in his epistle 1 John. In 5 chapters he used the word love more than 30 times. He wrote things like: don't love the world or things in the world, love God; don't just say you love - DO love; love one another because love is from God; God revealed His love in His Son, Jesus.

I am thinking hard on that this morning because I leave one week from today for India. I readily admit that I am reluctant to go. It will be my 4th time in India and it's a hard place to go. The trip over is near torture, it's always hot and dirty, you have to be careful about every single thing you eat and drink, getting back and readjusting to life in Mansfield is always physically hard on me for some reason. And, it seems like I just got back from overseas and it is senior year, by the way.

However, I do think that my growing (and I hope my status is always growing) relationship with God compels me to go where I do not necessarily want to go. My love of the people of India or my ability to go there is not something that comes from my natural woman. I was listening to David Platt, author of the book Radical, preach on the internet and he said, "Can I believe in the gospel and turn a deaf ear to the unreached and starving in the world?" If I know for sure that I can do something then I must do it, I am compelled to do it.

So, it is my love for God that calls me to love others and to serve others whenever and however I can. But, that love is not something that I thought up or made up myself. It is because God first loved me, He first loved me. His expression of love was to send His Son Jesus so that we might know Him. First we know, then we do - the source, inspiration, and power is Love, sweet Love.

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trying to Stay Focused

Do you ever have so many projects going on or deadlines looming that it's hard to stay focused on just one at a time? I'm there, baby. I can't sleep at night because I can't turn my brain off which makes the next day harder because, like I've always said, I need my beauty sleep and it's not my outward beauty I'm talking about! And, with all the excitement with the Texas Rangers in the World Series, well, it's almost too much! Oh, I'm just being dramatic and a bit silly. I am leaving for India in a week and 2 days and so it seems like I have a lot to accomplish before my departure date gets here. I put way more pressure on myself than I should or need to. I think it's just a bit humorous, too, that all those years when I was taking care of my little kids and I dreamed of the day when I would have grown-up things to do that I thought it would be great.  Those days seemed hard at the time - changing diapers and chasing toddlers was not my favorite season of life. If I could freeze time I would keep my kids the age they are now forever. I LOVE the teenage years. Well, the college boy is not a teen but he's at a really great place in life. Yes, teenagers bring challenges at times but life is great. I love every project that I am working on and feel so blessed to be here. Really. God has been over-abundantly good. He has knocked my socks off and stretched me and caused me to rely on Him in new ways.

Well, this is a really random, rambling post and really has no purpose except to provide a second of a break from a full day. I've got a sick kid home and I can hear him watching one of those shows where the person has to sing a song and they are not given all the lyrics. It's cracking me up! So, back to work for me...

Have a fabulicious day!

Jeanette

Monday, October 25, 2010

History and Warning Signs

I really like history. It fascinates me and captures my attention. Sometimes it sidetracks me in my Bible study because I am looking up how whatever I am studying intersects with history and culture of the time period in which it was written. So, right now I am simultaneously reading Flyboys by James Bradley and a biogaphy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. Where I am currently reading in each book is in the years leading up to World War II. It's really interesting to read what was going on in 2 different parts of the world and how those events intersected to become something that affected the entire world. 

I think I sat down to write this post about the amazing information that I've recently read in each book about ostracities nations committed against other nations, people committed against people. I mean, horrendous things and things that don't make sense to me. And, in many instances, there seemed to be warning signs that were ignored. There were voices crying out that danger was ahead and many times those voices were ignored. I wonder how such things could happen or how people could be so evil, so uncaring, so lost.

Then, I thought better or it. Would you want to read paragraph after paragraph of quotes from books that were interesting to me? Would you wonder where in the world my thought process was going? Would you even still be reading to this point?

I know in my own life there have been times when I've ignored warning signs or even people trying to warn me of danger ahead. I've totally missed the chance to change my direction before it was too late. Yeah, I've been there. I'm studying the Old Testament book of Judges right now and it's a time in Israel's history when they blew it over and over again. They ignored the law and the warning signs and got in trouble but then cried out to God. He sent them relief and they walked in obedience for a while and then fell back into their old pattern of behavior. Going their own way, doing their own thing, not caring, lost, even evil.

Are there any warning signs you're ignoring? Do you know what's right but simply are not choosing right? I know this is random and I don't know if anyone reading this needs it but ...STOP! (this is your warning sign)

We can learn a lot from our own personal history, those places we failed before. But, we don't have to go there again, we don't. I love it that God's mercies are new every morning. He is our strength and our refuge (check out Psalm 62) for every new day. It's a choice we make on our own - we are making our own history and our own legacy for our families and for those whose lives we impact. What if someone was writing your biography? What would you want that biography to say about you? Are you doing today what you want to be written about you? If not, then get to it.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is it ever ok to tell a lie?

I asked the above question to my Life Group this past Sunday. We had a lesson about sin and I was just using the question to make reference to the moral ambiguity and relativism in our culture. Little did I know that there would be such a discussion on what I thought was a fairly simple question. I have a little saying (well, we have lots of sayings at our house actually) that I use - there's black and white and there is no gray. It has hand motions that go with it so you aren't getting the full effect of the saying here. But, I am, by nature, a rule follower. I see black and white. Gray is not an option for me. Other people in my house, not mentioning any names, see gray. To them, gray is ok. I cannot relate to gray. (Although recently I purchased 2 new gray sweaters. Why would one need 2 gray sweaters? It seems a little overboard for me except one is shortsleeve and one is long which has nothing to do with today's post.)

So, what do you think - is it ever ok to tell a lie? One person commented that it is ok to lie to save a life. One person said it is ok to lie so as not to hurt another's feelings. "Oh, yeah, those shoes look fine with that outfit," and secretly thinking you should call the fashion police. Help a sister out, tell the truth!!

I was reading the story of Samson and Delilah from the 16th chapter of Judges today. Delilah asked Samson the secret to his great strength. The first time she asked, he told her a lie. But, the lie saved his life. Did that make the lie ok?  And, what was it about Samson's relationship with Delilah that was all wrong to begin with that put him in a position where he needed to lie?

Sometimes we get ourselves into messes that are hard to get out of. Where we go and what we do is so important. We must guard our steps and guard our hearts. God wants us to have the life that is abundant (John 10:10) not one filled with lies and deception. His plan is so much greater than that!

Which brings me to the next question, why do we think there's a difference between a little white lie and telling big lie? Or is there a difference?

Just wondering...

Serving the King,

Jeanette



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall is Finally Here in North Texas

I'm just taking a short little break this afternoon and sitting on the couch watching a little Texas Rangers baseball. (yes, Kathy, go Rangers! and, no, she didn't get homecoming queen - thanks for asking!) We are up 6-0 in the 7th inning with 1 out. Yes, those Rangers won yesterday and maybe it's a little too early to hope for a sweep...

I've been working all day on the women's conference in India. I always feel a little stressed about it. The culture and lifestyle varies so much from what we experience here at home. Yet, God's Word is still truth and is timeless and fits into any culture. (2 outs and Jacob wants to try some homemade broccoli soup I made for his snack today!)

The weather is pretty close to perfect right now. The temps are really nice. (3 outs, 8th inning and Jacob said the soup is actually really good) I sorted my clothes the other day and pulled out my sweaters and put my tank tops and summer clothes in the top of my closet. It's fun to do that because it seems like I have all new clothes - not really new, I just haven't seen them in a few months. Of course, I didn't put up all the hot weather clothes because it will still be stinking hot in India in November!

Well, break is over. I know, already, right? (bottom of the 8th, 2 outs - go Rangers!!)

Serving the King,

Jeanette

(end of 8th, no score change)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Taking a Breath

I arrived home late, late Monday night (after plane trouble & delay in Miami) and hit the ground running Tuesday morning. It's almost 4 pm on Saturday and I feel like it's the first time I have taken it easy since arriving home. I'm not really complaining, that's what mommas do. I finally finished my LifeWay writing assignment and emailed it off to my editor. Yes, yes, I procrastinated and still had work to do after I got home from Peru. I often say that late is the story of my life. It's done, though. Well, except the part that is due November 1st. Don't worry, I will safely have it done by October 31st!

It's homecoming weekend for our high school. I received an email while in Lima telling me that Jessica would be in the queen's court and a nominee for homecoming queen. It was fun for Johnny to walk her out on the field last night at the game. Tonight is the homecoming celebration (what the private school calls a dance). Since Jessica is President of the Student Council we had some decorations to get together today and I made brownies. Then there's Jacob. He didn't come home last night but stayed at a friend's house. He called a little bit ago and asked me to bring him clothes for the party. Picking out a shirt for Jacob over the phone proved to be a frustrating task. I finally got off the phone with him and asked Jessica what he should wear. She picked a few things and Johnny has gone to let him see which one he wants to wear. I got his drivers' ed packet in the mail the other day...needless to say, I'm ready for him to be driving. Then he can take care of picking his own shirt!

Well, I think I'll go watch some college football. I missed it the last 2 weekends. My Baylor Bears killed Kansas today and right now OU is ahead in the big Red River rivalry.

I'm just glad to say, I'm home, sweet home!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Last Day in Peru

By this time tomorrow, at least according to my itinerary, I will be on my way back home to Mansfield, Texas, in the USA. Truly, the greatest place to live! I am more thankful every time I set foot on foreign soil that my home is in Texas. Even more than that, my citizenship is in heaven and my rests in that fact!

What a week I have had since the last time I posted. The trip up into the Andes was quite an experience. The village where we stayed was at about 10,200 - 10,400 feet. The road up is not paved but a gravel road winding up the mountain. The people live in adobe houses, for the most part. The place where we stayed - the girls' room was a storage room (I am not exaggerating!) - had a tin roof and you could see daylight between the walls and the roof. Yes, it was mighty cold at night! I didn't sleep well at all on my air mattress and in my sleeping bag. Particularly the night we were awaken by an EARTHQUAKE! For real! It scared me but not so much that I got out of my warm bed!

The people in the village were extremely friendly and open. They live in harsh conditions and in a way that is hard to imagine. We played with some children every afternoon - pato, pato, gonzo or, duck, duck, goose to English speakers! Our translator was also able to tell a Bible story and we tried some songs as well. 

Well, it's time to go to Starbucks so I'll be back later! Yeah, Starbucks in Peru!! ha!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First Day in Peru

We arrived last night here in Peru. We are staying in a suburb of Lima called Miraflores. It's like a city of  its own with tall buildings. There's Chilis, TGIF, Tony Romas, and Starbucks within walking distance of our hotel. We will be here one more night before he head up into the Andes Mtns. Today we have been prepping for tomorrow. We had to go to a grocery this morning - that was quite an experience! Because I am with people who have been here a few times before they know all good places to eat. We had a very delicious lunch at a place called San Antonios. I had a sandwich called Madia Luna (half moon!) that was piled with cheese and meat, and, get this, a boiled egg. I know, I know, it sounds odd but it was oddly delicious! 

The rest of the day, I think, will be spent packing up stuff to go and in team meetings.

Gotta run! Jeanette

Friday, September 17, 2010

Almost Game Time

Ok, not a game, but I am leaving for the airport in under 4 hours and, per the norm for me, I cannot sleep. I was wide awake at 2:45 am realizing that I forgot to ask my daughter how to get on Skype on my notebook. I checked out some reviews on our hotel while we are in Lima and, apparently, there is internet access so I am glad about that. For the days we are up in the mountains, however, there will not be any communication with the outside world.

I wish I had brushed up on my Spanish skills. While I was in Venezuela a few years ago I learned - cafe con leche, por favor.  What else does one need? And, apparently, there's Starbucks not too far from the hotel!

For real, I can't think of anything else to type. I should try to sleep for the hour and 45 minutes until my alarm goes off. If you read this in the next 10 days, pray for us. Pray for the people we will encounter in Peru to be open to hearing and receiving the Gospel message. And, pray for my family while I am away. Thanks so much for your faithfulness to pray!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Anniversary

One year ago today my grandmother, Great Granny to my kids, went to be with Jesus. She was ready. She wanted to go. A few weeks before she went to her eternal home I spent a few hours with her in the hospice care room where she spent the last weeks of her earthly life.  She was not conscious at all while I was there. In fact, I stayed with her because my mom and her siblings were making funeral arrangements and they did not want her to be alone. Whether she was aware of my presence or not, it was a great blessing to me. I talked to her and reminisced about all the great times I had with her.  I'm thinking about her today.

One thing about my life and heritage is that I had some godly grandparents. They were all active and involved in their churches and modeled Christian behavior and lifestyle before me, my brothers,  and my cousins. I am amazed at how I have seen my cousins - on both sides of my family - follow in those footsteps. I am particularly amazed since I am flying to Peru in 2 days and I have been corresponding via facebook with my cousin's daughter. This young women (freshly graduated from DBU) is now living in Peru and working in an orphanage. She knew she would be a missionary from the time she was a little girl. Her mom, my cousin, is also on her way to Peru the same day I am - although we are not on the same flight, darn it!

So, hey, if you haven't told a grandparent today that you love 'em - go do it! Make sure they know how they have been a blessing in your life!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Total Silence

My house is completely quiet this morning. I don't hear a single thing. Our neighbor has been putting a pool in and not only has it made my dog completely frantic but it hasn't been quiet for weeks. Johnny is out-of-town at his LifeWay trustee meeting and the kids, of course, are at school. And there's quiet, sweet quiet.

I am leaving in 3 days for Peru. I covet your prayers for me and the rest of the folks going on our trip. We will fly into Lima and then head up into the Andes Mountains to do evangelism and discipleship. I'm not sure where we are going and, more importantly, where we will be staying once up in the mountains. Can I just let you know that I am packing a sleeping bag and an air mattress? And hiking boots. Yeah, you know I like camping but I don't usually do that on a mission trip!

Meanwhile, Jessica got her 1st college acceptance letter yesterday. Yes, I did tear up. Yes, I did tell her she could stay home for one more year - not at all meaning it seriously or thinking she would take me up on it! I'm so proud of her and am waiting patiently to see where God leads her to go to school next year. Though Johnny and I are hoping for one particular university where her brother attends and that is not too far from home, I really feel confident that Jess will follow God's leadership. And I'll be cool with that!

Serving the King,

Jeanette



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stormy Weather

Well, it seems we are experiencing the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine here in North Texas. Yes, the automated weather alert woke us up with a phone call around 4:45 am or so and I was unable to go back to sleep. The early morning wake-up call and the dreary weather may necessitate a nap for me this afternoon. Not that I have time for napping, mind you, as I am leaving for Peru in a week and 2 days and I still have work to do before I can go.

The wind is whipping around outside and the pool is overflowing. Water is flooding the street and the neighbor's preschool daughter was out playing in the water for a while. Oh, the days when my kids loved to play out in the rain... Actually, they might still like to but it is a school day, after all.

The thing about storms is that they are temporary. Sometimes it takes a while to get over them and the damage they may have caused but, eventually, the sun will come out and everything will be all right. I like the assurance that the One who made the Creation is not surprised by Tropical Storm Hermine anymore than He is surprised by emotional or relational storms. He is still in control when circumstances around us dare to make us wonder. I like that I can count on Him and know that He is faithful.

Even in the storm.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

What a gloriously cool, lazy, quiet Saturday morning around our house.  I've had an amazing and interesting week. Johnny put our travel trailer, the Wildwood, out at the lake so I could enjoy the great outdoors and get some work done on my writing assignment. For those that know us, know we love, love camping. Put my travel trailer just about anywhere and I am happy. I had the campground almost to myself for the first part of the week. Then the holiday campers started moving in and we moved out. For the better part of 3 days I enjoyed solitude and nature and being free of distractions - you know, those pesky things like laundry, house cleaning, the phone ringing, work...

I like the sound of God's voice in nature. No, I didn't hear Him speak to me audibly this week but I know He speaks through His creation. Romans 1:20 - "From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made." The sound of leaves blowing in the wind - is that the sound of the creation applauding the Creator? I imagine that it is. Isaiah 55:12 (in part) - "and all the tress of the field will clap their hands."

And then back to reality and routine. Which, for us in the great state of Texas, means Friday night high school football. Jessica is one of the new mascots for our school and it was the first night out for the new mascot costume. (is that what one would call the mascot get-up? LOL) Our team won. And today - laundry and cleaning and yard work. But, Monday is a holiday - woohoo, we could already use a break after only 2 weeks of school! I hope you have big plans to enjoy the day!

Serving the King,

Jeanettte

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School Dinner

This marks the first time I have taken a photo with my cell phone and sent it from my phone to myself and actually posted it to a blog.  I am just becoming more and more techie all the time.  HAHAHA!!

Ok, with that out of the way, the above photo was taken last night after our traditional back-to-school dinner.  We had to move to the 2nd day of school because Johnny is coaching an Upward football team and he had practice Monday night.  But, we had all 3 kids with us so it was a bonus!  Yes, the college boy will still meet us for free food! 

It was a great night!  We had a nice dinner and great conversation.  Yes, we laughed hysterically at Jacob, as usual.  I am not kidding, he is a funny, funny kid.  We (Johnny and I) talked about our hopes and dreams for our kids for the year and our plan to challenge them this year.  I am looking forward to a great year!  We want to celebrate with our kids and support them, but also to never stop challenging them to do their best and be their best.  And, to never stop following God or seeking Him to be the guide and power in their lives. 

I hope you and your kids have had a great 1st few days of school!

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

First day of school, again.  The house is unbelievably quiet except for the noise from the pool construction next door.  Josh got settled in at DBU over the weekend.  Our niece is also a freshman at DBU this year.  She surprised us by coming to our church yesterday with 3 of her new friends.  We couldn't miss an opportunity to have them with us so we invited them all to lunch at our house.  Josh was here - he's still an intern for our student pastor so we'll have him home every Sunday and Wednesday! (yea for us!)  It was so fun to have a table full of students! 

Jacob got out the door earlier than Jess - she has first block off for the senior year.  He was ready to go.  Well, as ready as a 15 year old can be when it comes to going back to school.  I made his breakfast & his lunch -- yes, I still do that.  I will never get tired of doing that.  It's what I do.

Jessica came down, ready to start her senior year.  I didn't cry!  haha!  I remember all those times when the kids were little and I wasn't allowed to go with them to the first day of school.  Johnny always took them so I wouldn't embarrass them by crying in the building the first day.  Come to think of it, I feel a little teary just now.  It helps that our new school is one mile from our house and Jess and a friend are coming HOME for lunch today.  Yes, I will fix some lunch for them.  It's what I do.  I'm the mama!

So, everyone is off and started on their first day.  Johnny already talked to Josh this morning and he was headed to a delicious cafeteria breakfast and then to class.  I guess I'll go get on with my day and get off this computer.  I've got to hit the 30-Day Shred and then to serious work on my LifeWay project. 

Happy First Day of School everyone!

Serving the King,

Jeanette 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Heavy Day

I told myself I would not cry but, sure enough, I couldn't hold the tears back.  Jessica's bestest friend spent the night last night and in the morning she leaves for college.  Then we got some heavy news about a friend.  It's one of those times when I just don't know what to do.  I really have no idea.  I'll pray, of course, but the rest is out of my hands.

My longing is to shelter those that I love.  My desire is to keep them safe and trouble free.  That's not practical and certainly does not line up with Scripture.  I long for that day of no more tears, no more mourning or sorrow.  Until that day, however, my hope rests in the One who is coming on that white horse.  He is called Faithful and True.  I believe in that.  Some days I don't know how I could take one more breath if I didn't. 

Just a couple more days and Josh will be gone.  Again.  School will start and we'll be in a routine.  We'll go to the last 1st day of high school for Jessica and the senior breakfast and, with that, all the senior things will start.  The last girls' basketball season and the last year of living at home.  For Jessica, that is.  We'll still have Jacob at home - I'm sure he will keep us in stitches, he is such a funny kid.

So, we'll have a busy few days - the school supply lists were sent home last night from Open House.  Ugh, I dread rumaging through trying to find just the right notebook or folders or whatever else the teachers have so diligently put on those lists.  I'm a rule follower so everything will have to be just right.  I might just drive my kids a little crazy - they'll find a substitute and say it's fine and I'll be manic about getting the exact item requested. 

I'm dreading it already.

Well, after this light-hearted and uplifting post (not!) I think I'll just sign off...

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Sunday is most definitely my favorite day of the week.  We are church people around here and we love to gather with, well, the church.  There's nothing like small group Bible study with people that make you feel good and safe and comfortable and just plain joyful.  Then there's corporate worship and listening to the Word brought with clarity and conviction...

...followed by an easy, home-cooked lunch with family and friends and then, ahhhh, the Sunday afternoon nap.  Prescription for a PERFECT day.

Except for the fact that it's over 100 again today for the I-don't-know-how-many days.  A lot.  It is stinkin' hot in North Texas, that's for sure!

School starts back one week from tomorrow.  Josh moves back to college this coming Saturday.  This has been an absolutely great summer.  In some ways I am ready for routine that comes with school and in some ways I want to scream NOOOO!  No, I don't want it to end! 

The big news of the summer is that Josh and Jessica have both said this summer that they feel like God is calling them into Christian ministry/vocation.  Wow!  The proudness that I feel is indescribable.  Yeah, I know that life in ministry is not always easy and, sometimes, is really hard.  But, that they would commit their lives to do the work of ministry is overwhelming to me.  It's all a God-thing but I cannot help but feel that I did something right along the way. 

Josh and Jacob and their band are playing tonight in evening worship.  Even though they have been playing together only a few weeks they are good.  I'm not just biased, either.  I promise!  hahahaha....

Well, I better go change - I don't think I'll wear my Georgia Bulldog shorts to church tonight.  Don't worry, my church doesn't put any expectations on this pastor's wife, but Georgia Bulldog shorts are for home wear only!

hahahaha....

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I Am Up To...

...since I last blogged which was forever ago.  Lots & lots has gone on and in 2 weeks when the kids go back to school I hope to process it all.  Don't think I'm hurrying it to be here though.  Not.at.all.  The college boy will move back to his campus and the daughter will be a SENIOR.  It's gonna be a big year, that's for sure.  In the meantime, here's a little bit of what I am up to right now...

What I am listening to - Passion Awakening & Hillsong United We Stand

What I am reading - Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski
                                What Difference Do It Make - by Hall, Moore, & Vincent (still)
                                 The Cost of Discipleship - by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (still)

I also purchased a 542-page biography on the life of Bonhoeffer not too long ago.  Johnny laughed at me.  I recently read Broken by William Cope Moyers, a book about addiction.  I just realized I am reading 2 books that have to do with homelessness...

What I am enjoying eating - not much, since I am now on a self-designed diet and exercise program to ready myself for the trip to Peru.  I did go to Fuzzy's Taco last night with the pastors' wives (and it was a great time) and splurged just a bit.  I just had to run a little harder this morning, which brings me to my next category -

What I am enjoying doing - running - I finally found my like of running again, reading, the pool, and family time

Alright, that's me.  Anybody reading any good books lately? 

Enjoy the last days of summer!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Poor Neglected Blog



Johnny told me the other day that my blog has been neglected.  Poor little thing!  Needless to say, it has been quite a busy summer!  Johnny and I are headed out-of-town this weekend for a couple of days with some friends but other than that, all the excitement and traveling of the summer is pretty much over.  Jessica and Jacob are both working this morning and it's quiet around the house.  Oh yeah, and I'm working, even though it looks like I'm blogging...I'm just taking a short break!

I wanted to add a few pictures from our recent mission trip to Laredo.  Wow, what a week!  We had a group building a playground... (BTW, the are soaking wet because they worked the last day in the pouring down rain.  But, we praised the Lord for the rain because it made for cooler temperatures!)



We had a group working at a soccer camp in the mornings...
(That's my Jacob with a group of kids at camp)



We had two groups doing morning VBS at two different locations.  We then took the VBS to the park for 2 nights and had sports, crafts, & a Bible story.  Tons of families came out to the park in the evenings!

It really was a great week.  My boys played (Josh - bass & Jacob on the drums) at a church on Wednesday night as well as at a block party on the last night we were there.  The block party was the same night as flooding rain hit Laredo.  The border between the US and Mexico expanded a bit while we were there.  My Jessica told the story at VBS one day with an interpreter.  It was her first time to speak with an interpreter but she did great.  She said it was a little hard to remember to pause & let the interpreter go, a fact that I know all too well.  It was such a privilege for me to be on mission with my kids and to see them in action.  In fact, not just the kids that I birthed but all the students we took down there did a fabulously wonderful job.  For real, there was no complaining, no fussing, NO DRAMA, and, believe me, we asked a lot of those kids and adults.  We got a lot of hard work and the joy of seeing people saved and, hopefully, lives changed. 

I've got some other big news from our family but I can't stick it here at the end of this blog so I'll be back (hopefully) real soon to write all about what God is doing in our family!

Until then, stay cool - man, we are having some hot days here in North Texas!

Serving the King,

Jeanette
 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gifted by the Spirit

I love that the church has arms and legs and eyes and ears and we're not all a bunch of hands just stuck together and hanging on Jesus Christ, the Head of the church.  I am particularly thankful for that today and I think my friend Pam is awesome.  She is a pro at teaching kids and loving kids and giving of herself to others.  She was a tremendous help to me yesterday as we did our final collection of materials for our mission trip.  Actually, she helped me by telling me what to do - I love that!  We've been in Bible study together and our kids are similar ages so I know her heart but I rarely get over to the children's building so I think yesterday was the first time I've seen her in action.  Amazing, really!  (And, I'm typing this because she doesn't read my blog so she won't know...)

The main reason I'm here this morning is because I'm amazed at how God puts people together.  He really did knit us together in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) and made us individually unique.  We were given talents and the ability to do all sorts of things.  We were given different personalities - some are shy, like me, and some are more outgoing, like my husband and daughter.  But, when we become believers and followers of Jesus, we are given gifts by the Holy Spirit.  Those gifts, as well as our talents, are to be used for the benefit of the body, the church. 

How that works in practice is so beautifully displayed every week as we gather at the property we call our "church" knowing full well that the church is the people, not the buildings.  It is also really cool to see how that works when we are on mission.  When we step away from that property and from those buildings that are like home to us and reach out to others.  I have a chance to do that in just a few days.  I'm excited and a tiny bit apprehensive.  I'm believing, however, that God goes before us and all that we do is to His glory and not our own.

If you think about it over the next week, will you pray for our mission group as we head back down to Laredo?  We covet your prayers on our behalf as well as on the behalf of those we will serve!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bible Study Tonight!

I'm so excited that I have a Bible study group coming to my house tonight.  I follow Beth Moore's blog and she suggested a summer Bible study and I took the bait.  I decided to make a fb group and invite my fb friends.  I've been cleaning and thought I'd sit down for a minute while strawberry cupcakes bake in the oven.

I opened up my Life Group curriculum to take a look at this Sunday's lesson this morning.  The title of the lesson is "Facing Obstacles:  Paul's Journey to Rome."  I started thinking about personal obstacles.  I don't know about you, but I've got some of those!  What would you say recent obstacles have been in your life?  Since this Sunday is the 4th of July, the day we celebrate America's independence, I did a little research this morning on obstacles to birthing this nation.  Yeah, talk about major obstacles!  Yet, those early colonists and settlers persevered and kept looking toward the goal, the prize. 

Sometimes I feel like my life is more like "Wipeout."  Have you seen that game show?  It's really rather hilarious in a sick sort of way.  It's about people competing on obstacle courses.  Most often, they get knocked right off the course and land in mud or water.  Sometimes they get back on the course and sometimes they just swim through the muck to get to the end.  Rarely is getting off-course a pleasant short-cut.

Like our pastor said last Sunday, I don't like slow.  I also don't like when things don't go the way I've planned.  Oh, I know, that sounds a little spoiled.  I just envision in my mind the way things are supposed to happen and when they don't go that way it throws me off.  I really don't like it when obstacles pop up.  But, who does? 

I must admit I've had a few pleasant obstacles lately (along with the other kind) and I'm thankful for it all.  Through all of it I see God's hand at work and I am glad for how He continues to work, whether it's what I expected or not.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vacation check-in #2

It's Sunday afternoon on Lake Hartwell in Georgia.  Johnny has taken the kids out on the boat but I'm relaxing.  We are having some well-deserved rest after 4 days at amusement parks.  We were feeling especially brave and decided to wait in a ridiculous line to get into the Wizardly World of Harry Potter on opening day.  I must say, though I am not particularly a Harry Potter fan, it was impressive.  The ride inside Hogwarts was amazing. 

We love it here at the lake.  Jessica's fb status the day we arrived said time seems to move slower here - or something like that.  I think we just stop moving so fast.  There's no deadline or timeline or agenda.  I sat out on the back porch this morning, looking into the pine trees and out over the lake, and read from the book of Judges.  Although I am anticipating a group study that starts in a couple of weeks, I am in-between studies right now.  So, I've been reading through the book of Judges.  I've been doing that off and on for a few weeks.  I love the part of the book when the Angel of the Lord comes to Gideon and calls him "mighty warrior."  Gideon wasn't feeling too much like a mighty warrior -- more like a fraidy cat.  I can so relate to that.  Gideon was told to go in the strength that he had.  It was strength that God had already given him.  And, he had the promise that God would go with him and protect him. 

Sometimes I need reminders of what's already been given me and the promises that have been made.  I don't always feel strong or confident or able to accomplish what God has called me to do.  That's what is so great about vacation.  It is a time to rest and reflect and refresh.  A time to contemplate what God has already done and what He's already said He will do.  It's easier to go on in the strength that He's provided when there's a time of renewal.  So, in about a day and a half we'll start for home.  Where our responsibilities and agendas and deadlines await.  Where we are called on to give and do and go.  But, by then, we'll be ready. 

Thank you, Lord, for vacation!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vacation check-in

I have walked my legs off in amusement parks in the hot Florida sun for the past 2 days and I have insomnia.  How is that even possible?  I'm trying to be as quiet as possible because my sweet daughter is asleep close by.  It's the wee hours of the morning, the time when all park goers should be sleeping.  Because, after all, later this morning I'll be back out there. 

We have had a blast so far.  Johnny went to the convention and I did feel a bit guilty that we were having fun without him.  Well, a little, tiny bit of guilt.  Even a miniscule amount counts, right?  He even took a detour on the way down here and we drove over to have lunch on the beach.  I love the beach and haven't been a few summers.  It was beautiful - no oil as far as the eye could see.  Our waitress did tell us that their vacation crowds were already down.  She blamed that on the media.  The president was to be there the next day.  Satellite trucks were already lining up.

And, speaking of celebrities, Harry Potter opens on Friday at Universal Studios.  They closed that whole side of the park early today because, according to the news, there was a big shindig out there tonight.  Commoners like us were not invited but JK Rowling (the author of the books, I'm not sure how to spell her name) & the actors & other celeb-type people associated with Harry Potter were out there.  I did get some photos today and we'll see if we can even get close on Friday.

And, now I'll try to sleep.   Hope you are staying cool, wherever you are!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Need of a Vacation

Here it is, summer has not officially started (according to the calendar, not North Texas weather) and I'm already ready for a vacation.  I think some over zealous parents at the summer basketball league about sent me over the edge.  Good grief, you would've thought we were playing for the national championship or something.  Get a grip, people, and relax a little. 

So, the delivery men are here with my new washer and dryer.  My washer died a few days ago and so I decided to get a new one instead of repairing the old one.  I wanted a front loader and so then decided to get a matching dryer.  They're red.  Yes, my husband got a Harley and I got red, matching washer & dryer.  I haven't been able to do laundry this whole week and I have not missed it one bit.  I think when I see the mounds of dirty clothes that have most assuredly piled up upstairs that I might be a bit sorry I didn't make a trip to the laundromat this week.  Come to think of it, I don't even know where one is located in Mansfield. 

And, if you are still reading and are wondering what the point of this post might be, well, there is none.  As is always the case, there is constant activity going on at this house.  Really, I could hardly get through typing this blog post because of the constant interruptions.  (Now you know why I've hardly been around lately.)  I decided I am absolutely not going to be able to work on my writing assignment from my home office this summer so will be at my AIM office more than usual.  With my door closed.  And my iPod on. 

Reporting shortly from vacation,

Jeanette

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Emotions

I haven't wanted to put a new post on my blog because I've been so proud of the last post -- the one my daughter put up after she hacked into my blog.  Could a mom be more proud?  My boys each posted a youtube video on my facebook wall of someone singing happy birthday as a little birthday greeting to me.  They also wrote very nice cards so my heart has been full this week.  I have become very emotional over the last few days as my daughter has been making some graduation gifts for friends.  One in particular is a slideshow of her best friend, the friend that I call her "soul friend."  Then today was senior recognition Sunday at our church.  Our dear friend's parents could not be there today so we stepped in as her family for the day.  Jess told me that parents were supposed to write a letter to the graduate so I wrote a letter to our friend.  This morning I found our Student Pastor and asked him what I was supposed to do with the letter.  READ IT, he said.  Yeah, the parents were supposed to read the letter to their student during the lunch today.  Then my mind is racing -- did I write anything too personal to be read outloud, did I write anything that would embarrass our friend, embarrass me or my family?  Then, would there be any way on earth that I could read the letter out loud in front of other people?  Tears filled my eyes just when our Student Pastor told me that the letter was meant to be read out loud.  Well, of course I would not be able to read the letter but Johnny did.  Even this afternoon, I have been writing some other cards and thinking about all our friends that will be leaving.  Not like Josh, just 25 minutes away at DBU and we see him almost every week.  But, AWAY.  Like packing up and going away to college and leaving us.  This has been the hardest graduation on me so far.  Ever.  So, tonight we'll go to a graduation party and then we won't think about college again until the end of the summer.  We'll just have fun and work and travel and hope to say all the important things we want to say before our friends leave us.  It will be the hardest on Jess - she will miss some of her friends in a huge way.  And, our house will be a lot quieter and there will be less bodies upstairs on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Ok, I just can't think about it another second.  There's still summer...

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

oh yes i did!

Now some of you might be wondering, "why on earth is this blog entitled oh yes i did?" Well that is because this is not Jeanette writing this blog, her blog has been hacked, by me, Jessica. I am the daughter of Jeanette for those of you who dont know so you dont have to call the blog police on me. Now today is my mothers birthday, and as she sleeps soundly in her bed room i am up hacking into her blog and posting this just to tell her happy birthday for the whole world to see. Now sure i could have just posted a facebook status saying "happy birthday mom, i love you" or something to that effect but i decided to take a different route. so now i will proceed to tell you a couple things about why my mother is so great. #1. She puts up with my brothers and I which i tell you is NOT an easy task. #2. She still has big dreams like a little kid, and has faith that someday they will come to life for the glory of God. #3. Her smile is infectious!! #4. She is just the best. end of story. she is everything.
the Bible says "a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." so its your birthday mom, and i just thought i would take this time to give you a little praise, you deserve it.
i love you, and if i can turn out to be half the woman of God you are, i will have done alright.

much love,
Jessica

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Week One of Summer Break

This is the first full week of summer break.  Yippee!!  We had a great Memorial Day weekend. We celebrated my parents' 50th anniversary yesterday with my brothers and their families.  We had a low-key family party because we are sending them on a trip for their gift and wanted to spend our money on that.  The party was here so it was a busy day for us.  I loved it that Jessica's fb status last night was something my parents said to each other last night - My mom said, "Stand by me" to my dad when we were taking some photos.  My dad said, "I've been standing by you for 50 years."  Wow, a long time and a great heritage!

After a super busy weekend (that started, BTW, with a motorcycle ride for me and Johnny over to the town of Cleburne for breakfast on Saturday that was a LOT of fun) I am chillin' a little bit.  Well, really, I'm about to get to work on my writing assignment after doing absolutely nothing this morning.  Nothing except that I watched a show on Discovery Channel about the elusive Giant Squid.  Until just a few years ago, it had never been photographed in the wild or alive, for that matter.  Yeah, interesting, huh?  Some scientists in Japan finally captured a Giant Squid on an underwater camera.  Then, on another trip they attempted to video one in the depths of the ocean but instead it got caught in their line and came to the surface.  The narrator said, "In science, as in travel, getting there is half the fun."  He was talking about the study of the Giant Squid.  The next voice heard was that of a scientist (not the one in Japan) saying, "Science...the day we know everything, it's going to be a very sad day."  There are some things that just will not be known.

I was thinking about that recently when we watched the space shuttle land.  There are some things about space that will never be known.  Only God, the Creator, knows. 

Well, gotta run 'cause I gotta help Jessica get signed up to take the ACT in September. 

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Friday, May 28, 2010

Now I Know It's Summer

Today I got in the pool.  The temp of the water is already perfect.  Which means that the weather has already been hot enough to warm the water because I really don't like to get in cold water, which I believe I might've mentioned a time or two on this blog.  I sat out by the pool today and read a book on Paul by F.F. Bruce.  It's a book from seminary that I enjoy re-reading.  Jessica saw I had it out and asked if I was reading it.  She used it as a source for her research paper so she's familiar with it.  I told her I was because it's a really good book.  She agreed but said it was more like an encyclopedia.  It's not, I promise. 

I made a yummy summer treat the other day.  It was really the result of an accident.  I made cupcakes because the kids were going to have friends over after church -- not the public school kids because they aren't out of school yet, but the private school kids.  I was going to make some glaze with some frozen strawberries that I put in the blender & powdered sugar.  But, I didn't have enough powdered sugar to make it glazy enough so it was really strawberry syrup.  yum!  I ended up dipping the cupcakes in the strawberry syrup but had a lot left over.  So, I added some crushed ice and blended it and it made a strawberry icee.  It was really good.  Today I made it again but with some mixed frozen fruit.  I didn't have powdered sugar (still) and didn't want to put in regular sugar because I thought it would be too grainy so I made a simple syrup and then added that and the ice.  I have to admit I like just strawberry but it was really refreshing so maybe it will become a regular this summer.  Except for the fact that everyone in my family except me has free-fill cups from Race Trac so they might prefer that.  We'll see...

Have a marvelous Memorial Day weekend!

Jeanette

Monday, May 24, 2010

Almost Summer

I've been a delinquent blogger.  I want to write something interesting and, while my life is FULL of awesome excitement right now, I'm having difficulty sharing it here.  Though I have tried. Let's see...Josh is home for the summer.  I am super glad about that.  Jess and Jacob have one more day of finals tomorrow and then a half-day on Wednesday and then they're done.  Another year completed.  I look forward to the end of the school year because I love summer break.  Every year I say that I don't want this summer to be as busy as last year's but every year we fill the weeks with activity before even the last day of school.  This year is no exception, regretably. 

But while I am excited about summer break, it means one more school year is over and then Jessica has only one more before college.  And, then there's the baby of the family.  He'll be a sophmore when school starts back up.  I was talking to a friend this afternoon about, at times, wishing for those days when the kids were babies.  When they were dependent on their momma and life was simplier.  Though, those days didn't seem simple at the time. 

Life goes on.  It doesn't slow down for one second.  It makes me think harder about making everyday count. 

And, with that, I've got to go cook dinner.  Something delicious and nutritious for sure!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Writers' Conference

Wow, I think my head is about to explode.  I have taken in sooo much information over the past 2 days.  Not only am I new to the particular curriculum that I am writing but I am new to the publishing world and how lessons have to submitted, formatting, word counts, meeting editors expectations, and, well, the whole thing.  Although my dream has been to be published I must admit it's nice when Johnny and I write for our church peeps and we only have to worry about getting our material to Julie and Shannon by our deadline and they simply print it and we pass it out.  It certainly has way more pressure (like, none) than all this writing for LifeWay jazz.

The LifeWay team is great, though.  I mean, super great.  And I have run into an old friend, a friend of Johnny's and a classmate of our student pastor.  That's been fun.  And, it has been interesting to see how production of Sunday School curriculum goes from an outline to finished product.  It really is a colaborative effort.  At least this particular curriculum is. 

So, I'm here at the hotel just chillin'.  I'll be back at the conference early tomorrow morning then home tomorrow afternoon.  Then, I'll be busy writing!  What a thrill!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, May 10, 2010

Radical, the book - My Review



This was my latest Blogging for Books read.  I would've read it whether WaterBrook Multnomah sent it to me or not.  I'm glad I read it.  It was an easy read and the author captured my heart.  The buzz word in some evangelical circles seems to be missional.  I don't think David Platt used that word even one time in his book.  Instead, he wrote that we are called to follow Jesus.   Not to just live out a comfortable, Americanized version of obedience, but a radical abandonment to Jesus.   Check out this quote from page 7, "We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves." 

Platt included several stories about his travels overseas to places where it is not safe to worship publically or to share the Gospel.  I've seen some of those places as well.  I could relate to his stories.  My heart ached when Platt wrote about the millions who have not heard the Gospel message, the billions who live in poverty, and the tens of thousands that are starving literally to death every single day.  I live a comfortable life.  I worship freely in a great church.  I don't worry about my next meal except to wonder what I will cook in my well-stocked kitchen and who will help me clean up the dishes when we're done eating.  But, my heart yearns to do more. 

Platt wrote a section of his book about those that don't feel gifted or called to share the Gospel.  Some want to hear about God's love but not the command He gave to go and tell and carry on Christ's mission on the earth.  I about fell out of my chair when Platt dissed another well-known preacher who, well, preaches fluff.  He didn't mention him by name but I know and Platt is right.  I like this quote from page 71, "God creates, blesses, and saves each of us for a radically global purpose."  Platt wrote that we want the privileges without taking on the obligations.  It's not so we can have more stuff and store up treasures on earth but so that we will use our resources to point others to God.  It's for His glory and not our own.

I could really go on for paragraphs about the book.  But, I want you to read it for yourself.  The book ends with a challenge.  A one-year challenge.  Johnny and I led a group of people from our church through a 20-week study of the book of Matthew this past school year.  At the end, we talked about how 20-weeks is a long time and how few people are willing to commit to 20 weeks of anything.  I wonder how many will commit to a one-year challenge.  It's definitely a worthy pursuit. 

So, check out the book and let me know what you think.  Will you commit to be a part of the Radical Experiment?  If so, I am so interested in keeping up with you and your progress and how God is using the experiment in your life.  While you are reading this you have not idea what I'm referring to so read the book and get back to me.  I'll be waiting.

Serving the King and wanting to be Radical,

Jeanette

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Marvelous Mom's Day

Wow, what a great day it has been.  I got to be with my awesome Life Group this morning...love those girls sooo much.  We're like family and making our own Life Group traditions, well, like family.  If we're family, does that make me the momma?  hahaha!

My family gave me just what I wanted for Mom's Day.  Yes, a docking thing for my iPod.  That's after I received a rose bush via the delivery man yesterday.  We came home from church and my husband and kids cooked lunch.  Johnny cooked steaks on the new grill he bought yesterday (for mothers' day?) and mine was perfectly cooked and perfectly delicious.  I then took a way-too-long nap and relaxed the rest of the day.  Oh, and we played some Sequence. 

I called my mom today, of course.  It's her first mothers' day without her mom.  She has missed her.  Johnny and I talked about my Grandmother just a couple of days ago.  Last year, we drove to Waco on the Saturday, the day before Mothers' Day.  We visted my Grandmother and took her some flowers.  She was still doing pretty good and we had a nice visit.  When I saw her just a couple of months later she had really changed and gone down hill.  I'm sad she's gone.  I'm sad for my mom and the loss of that generation. 

Well, that's all.  Hope you had a great mothers' day!

Jeanette

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Great Idea for Mother's Day

I'm just checking to see if anyone in my family is reading my blog.  Just in case, I'm giving a gift suggestion for this upcoming Mother's Day.  You see, lately when I'm in my bathroom getting ready for the day I have my little notebook in there playing YouTube videos of my favorite songs.  You know, those little mini-laptop, notebook things don't have enough memory (or whatever the correct electronic, techy term is) to download music.  All my favorite music is on my ipod but I don't have speakers or docking station or anything else like that.  So, wouldn't a great gift be one of those things so I could listen to my ipod instead of clicking from video to video?  Just think, my getting ready time could be reduced to, well, a few seconds faster. 

Just saying... just checking...

Serving the King,

Jeanette

PS - tomorrow I'll be back with my Blogging for Books review of Radical by David Platt.  People, this is truly a great book so you should be picking up your own copy today.  Yes, go today and get it.  Unless you want to wait til my review tomorrow and go get it then.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Big Sigh

A big sigh is what I just heard from my dog, who is sleeping on the floor of my office.  I know she missed me last week but maybe especially because she had to stay in her kennel so much.  Even yesterday I was out of the house quite a bit so she had to go back.  She was snoring just a little bit ago.  Last night Johnny and I went with a couple of our pastors and their wives to a pastors' dinner.  It was a lot of fun.  I really, really love the people we have the privilege of serving with at FBCM. Anyway, when we got home Jessica had given the dog a bath.  Not that she isn't willing, but she usually doesn't give the dog a bath when there's homework to be done.  But, apparently, the dog was quite muddy.  We had a bit of rain yesterday evening but I couldn't really figure out where she had been to get so muddy.  As I was washing my face last night a thought occurred to me so I went outside in the dark to check it out.  Yesterday afternoon I bought some plants for my garden.  I moved the brick that was blocking the gate Johnny built with the fence that was meant to keep the dog out of the garden and put the plants back there til I could plant them today.  That silly dog, I guess, saw me move that brick because when I went outside last night the brick was moved and the gate was open!  Yes, the dog figured out how to get to my garden.  Ugh!  Don't worry, I fixed her.  I've but a bungee cord on that gate until Johnny can get home today and come up with a more permanent solution. 

I am also letting out a big sigh today.  The last few weeks have been so crazy and today is quiet.  The weather is beautiful so I'll work outside later after I've worked on my LifeWay writing assignment for a while.  The rest of the week should be calm and I am so looking forward to that.  I mean, I'm really excited.  So, I guess I'll get off of here and get to work. 

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mission Laredo Wrap-Up

Today has been a super great day.  My wonderful husband had almost everything done around the house so I could take it easy and recoup today.  Our days in Laredo were full.  On Wednesday we worked at the church, shopped for the block party, worked at the house, and passed out flyers and invited folks to the block party that was happening Thursday evening.  We were also going to the church where we had been working to help lead in Wednesday evening services.  One of our guys played his keyboard and another preached.  Anyway, Karen and I had to go to our hotel to change clothes between the activities and church.  We literally were dropped off in the van, went upstairs & changed and were back in the van in about 12 minutes.  That's all the time we had and, well, we did the best we could. 

On Thursday the guys were finishing up the patio cover and I actually got up on the scaffolding and put some screws into the metal to hold it onto the frame.  The yard was super overgrown but was mostly weeds.  I asked Bob if we had any money left in our budget to buy a weedeater and he said no.  However, when he got back from the Home Depot he had a weedeater with him!!  So, we worked on the yard as well.  The block party was to start at 6 and we started getting ready mid-afternoon.  I can't even remember what time it was.  I was in charge of the popcorn machine for the big event.  Thankfully, I learned to use the popcorn machine at our own church back in October.  Like it's complicated...not!  I passed out tons of popcorn, though, so it must've been good.  hahaha!!   I think the best part was watching our guys working the games.  They really got into it and had fun with the kids.  One of the guys told me it was really an eye-opening experience.  Yeah, that it was. 

All I know for sure is that I've got to get back to my Spanish lessons before I head back down to Laredo in July.  We encountered way more Spanish speakers than English speakers.  Most of the kids are bilingual but that's not true of the adults. 

I'm a little conflicted.  Knowing that many of the people are illegals and realizing that they need lots of help, how much can we provide for them without condoning the fact that they are breaking the law?  But, they need Jesus.  That I know for sure.  So, I've been thinking about that some today.  I was talking to a member of our church this evening about their poor living conditions and he said that even that was likely better than what they had in their home country.  Wow, and that's hard to imagine.  So, we'll keep seeking God and looking to Him for guidance as we figure out what we will do from here.

And that's the Mission Laredo wrap-up.  The trip was actually really great.  The team was wonderful to work with and I enjoyed being with them immensely.  I didn't really know most of them very well at all so it was a lot of fun getting to know them.  I am always amazed how God puts the right people together.  This is my first trip where we did so much manual labor so it was an interesting venture for me. 

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mission Laredo

I am super tired but wanted to put up a quick post about day 1 & 2 of our mission trip to Laredo.  We traveled and shopped yesterday.  The guys bought supplies for our work projects and Karen and I shopped for food, etc.  We're in charge of the food but thanks to our BFF, Joey who sent us with way more food than I think we'll be able to eat in 5 days that was leftover from the church picnic Sunday night, we won't have to cook too much at all.  Today was a work day.  We (and I am using the word we loosely) are building some walls at a new church plant.  We also walked the streets of the nearby neighborhood to pass out Bibles to people who had asked for one.  I did a LOT of sweeping today.  Back at our other project site I used a crowbar and a hammer, while standing on scaffolding, to pry some boards off the exterior of the roof.  Ok, ok, Darrell helped me but I mostly got the first one off myself.  The real builders were off....shopping.  Yes, they were shopping and we were working.

The main thing about today was that I was overwhelmed by the extreme poverty of the neighborhood where we were.  The second thing was how impressed I am with the pastor of the church where we were today.  At his own expense, he has started a church.  I am so glad we could come alongside him to encourage him by being a tiny part of what he is trying to accomplish.

Now I must rest --

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Saturday, April 24, 2010

DNow Weekend

Well, well, it's DNow weekend.  We've got junior and senior girls at our house.  It's almost like a typical weekend around here except there aren't any boys around.  Really, we are so used to having most of these girls here every weekend anyway Johnny and I just went to bed and knew they would do what they are supposed to.  Well, we didn't go to bed too early.  I had to learn a couple of new games first.  The first one was called Ninja and the other one was Terridactal - and I know I'm not spelling that right but I just looked at a list of types of dinosaurs and it totally was not on there.  Was that a real dinosaur?  Love these girls and am pumped about DNow weekend.

The theme of the weekend is "Redefining Normal" and the logo has a flying pig on it.  Yes, I am wearing a tshirt with a flying pig on it to church tomorrow.  I will be sitting right there in my pastor's wife seat in my flying pig shirt.  It's so cool how God orchestrates the events of our lives.  As I mentioned a few days ago, Johnny just started a sermon series titled "Radical" and I've been reading The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer.  I'm super excited about tomorrow and am already praying that the message of what it really means to follow Jesus will fall on hearts ready to hear it.  Not only hear, but respond in obedience. 

The girls are resting after we did our RAKS (random acts of kindness) so I better go do the same before we head back to church in a little while!

Have a fabulicious weekend!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blogging for Books - a novel this time

Whew, it's been a while since I've been blogging for books.  This time the publisher, Multnomah, sent me The Bridegrooms by Allison Pittman.  It's a novel about 4 sisters set in the late 1800's.  The sisters are raised by a single father, who is a doctor.  Don't worry, I didn't need to give a spoiler alert because you get this information in the first few paragraphs of the book.  After you find out the situaiton with the mother, the book quickly shoots ahead 17 years to a time when the sisters are young women.  It's a story about their lives and love and relationship.  Oh, and flirting and discovery and some confusion and hurt. 

Throughout the book, the women talk about their belief in and relationship to God.  As a believer and follower of God, I find myself drawn to Christian fiction.  I love a good story.  And, even though these fictional characters lived in a different time and generation, they faced some of the same challenges and relational struggles that we face even today.  They wanted happiness and love, just like women of the 21st century. 

I really like to read nonfiction but every once in a while I like to read something mindless and just plain entertaining.  So, if you're looking for a light-hearted story that will, at times, keep you guessing then I will suggest The Bridegrooms.  You will become involved in the lives of the sisters and maybe even develop a hope for how you want the story to end.  Without giving one thing away, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One of My Top Ten Best Days Ever

Yesterday is one of my top ten best days ever in my life.  The other nine are things like being saved, getting married, the birth of my three kids.  You know, big, life-altering things.  Yesterday was just pure joy -- mixed with a little nervousness after the reality set in.  Yesterday I got my "official" email inviting me to a writers' conference at LifeWay so that I CAN WRITE SOME CURRICULUM FOR THEM.  Yeah, you know, the store LifeWay.  They publish curriculum for small group Bible study/Sunday School.  And me, I, Jeanette, will be a writer for LifeWay.  I will be published.  My writing will be read by thousands of people. 

I got the news, unfortunately, at the grocery store.  One of my most dreaded places to be.  I got my fancy new little smart phone out to make sure my youngest didn't call for me to pick him up.  I thought he was staying after school for basketball practice and I don't hear my new cell when it rings and I didn't want to miss his call in case his plans changed.  I noticed I had an email from the editor at LifeWay so I checked it.  It was the email I have been waiting for.  I called Johnny but it is impossible to shop with one hand and talk on the phone with the other.  Even after I got home it was hectic because I had to go pick up Jacob then get right to cooking dinner and all the other chore things I had to do last night.  So, I hardly got to enjoy the moment or bask in the excitement.  There will be time for that today, I suppose.  I think I'll go have a pedicure to celebrate.  And, Johnny will take me to a yummy restaurant for lunch tomorrow. 

Did I mention that I am going to be a writer for LifeWay? hahahahaha, I so happy!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, April 19, 2010

My One Thing

Johnny started a new sermon series yesterday he is calling "Radical."  He is going through the book of Acts and referring to how the 1st century believers lived radically.  They dared to do something to turn the world upside down.  Since yesterday was the first of the series he talked about overcoming obstacles in order to live radically.  Because, after all, we're busy, worn out from all we do and carry around with us.  We have personal needs that keep us from seeing needs of others.  We're stuck in place where we shut down spiritually because we don't want to do the hard work it takes to get to the other side. 

Johnny spent a portion of yesterday's sermon on James 1:2-4 -- "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have it perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  (NASB)  Knowing from our own personal experience, from how we have seen God work in the lives of others in our community of believers, and from the Truth of His Word. 

We talked about spiritual markers in my life group yesterday.  We have spiritual markers when we see God at work in specific situations and those are valuable to remind us in our present circumstances that He still is and always will be at work in the lives of His followers.  That He deeply and desperately loves people and is concerned about the needs we have.  His desire is to bring our lives to a place where our heart beats with the longing to be like Him -- to love what He loves, to follow where He calls.  To live radically.

I want to be a radical.  I do.

At the end of the sermon, during the time that leads to commitment, Johnny asked our church to pray about that obstacle, that life situation that is preventing each of us from living radically.  I do have obstacles, I'm not denying that, but my prayer yesterday was for this one thing that I've been praying for lately.  Today is my 19th day to pray for it.  I may be wacky (never claimed not to be) and this may be a little crazy, but I'm asking God for my one thing.  And here's the deal.  I have those spiritual markers in my own life when God has answered far crazier prayers than this.  I've seen Him at work.  I believe He is able.  I don't doubt it for a millisecond. 

So, on the 19th day, I'm praying again for my one thing.  I'll let you know what happens.

Serving the King,

Jeanette