Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hello Old Friends

I know, I know. Looooooooooooong time no blog. I was telling my sister in law over the Thanksgiving break that as much as I love Griffin and this 2 year old stage, it is so exhausting! As much as I would love to do a lot of creative things, I'm all tapped out at the end of the day. Hence the reason it's been over 7 weeks since anything has been posted here. I would like to stay things will get better soon.... but no promises!

What a better place to start that an update on Griff?

This dude. Just the perfect blend of sweet and orneriness! It's so funny to see what his mind comes up with these days. I will catch him doing something he's not supposed to be doing and he will instantly try to give me a hug or a kiss to try and make me forget what he was doing.  He is still obsessed with all movies, though Toy Story 3 seems to the one that gets most repeated. (Which is at least a break from Cars over Thanksgiving. I'm not sure mom could handle one more viewing of MaKeen!)

His love of movies did come in handy on our trip to Ruidoso for Thanksgiving.  Poor guy had pink eye so he wasn't feeling his best which I'm sure subdued him a bit for the trip, but he basically watched movies for the full 5 hour drive and never once complained about being stuck in his car seat.    We were so thankful he did so well and are now much more willing to take him back. (Though, vacation is Ruidoso with a toddler isn't quite the same as without one! ;)

Griff and Jax had a blast together. It's so fun to see them play. (Also, so humbling to have Griff yelling "NO SIR JAX!! NO SIR!!" Surely he only hears that at daycare... right?!) G man lives up to his role as the older cousin and bosses Jax around.  I like to pretend he gets that from his dad!

The worst part of Thanksgiving was coming home. We arrived back to shredded curtains, knocked over decorations and a mess in our house.... caused by a squirrel. Yes. A SQUIRREL.

It got in through a hole over our stove and wrecked a little bit of havoc while we were gone. Cody was able to put a trashcan over him and carry it outside to get rid of him and then I started cloroxing everything possible. There's nothing like the creepy feeling of not knowing what all a squirrel walked on in your house and worrying that you're going to wake up in the middle of the night cuddled up beside you. Ugh. I start squirming just thinking about it! The story made for a good children's sermon (sometimes we have big plans to do great things for God and the devil throws a squirrel our way to mess them up) and as I told our church this morning, Cody is currently the only rodent living in my house :). (totally joking of course. I had his permission to say it and they all laughed!)

Last thing.... we've been saving up for quite a while in hopes of joining a super cool club. It actually turned out to be a long ordeal, but the short version is this:

We now own a mini van and couldn't be more excited! (I know... not many willingly want to join this club!) Give Cody 15 minutes of your time and he'll sell you on why you should own one too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days - Book Club


Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest that you start a book club with your minister! What am I going to suggest is that when you read a good book that deals with an issue we are or will eventually help church members through, tell us about it! There are new books coming out all of the time and it can be hard to keep up with what all we should be reading. Coupled with the fact that there can be so many issues on one topic, sometimes just randomly picking one out  can result in reading a dud. So, give us the name of the book in writing,  [because it would be really easy to forget the title otherwise!] lend us your copy or buy us one of our own, either way, help bless your minister by encouraging them to read!


see all 31 days here

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days - Date Night


This one is so easy. All it takes is a simple card with money in it to surprise your minister and their spouse with a date night! We had this first happen to us over the summer at the start of our long stretch - VBS, then Junior High camp, followed immediately by High School camp. Our church member simply said, "I know you work so hard and y'all are so busy. I appreciate all you do and hope you enjoy this."

Now, we're young, with a toddler and on a rather tight budget, but this is a gift that any age of minister would appreciate.  Ours included date night money and babysitting money, but it wouldn't have to be that much depending on the kid status of your ministers and the restaurant quality in your town. (we're lacking in nice sit down places!)  We were ridiculously giddy happy about it. Plus we got to use our date night after our camp craziness, which helped us to reconnect. It may only be money to you, but to us, it's sign that you appreciate us and want to help make our marriage a priority.  Invest in your minister's marriage to invest in the health of your ministries!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days - House Sit


Honestly, there’s no slow time of the year for youth ministry. When school is going, there’s always some game, concert, play or any other manner of extra curricular activity going that we need to be at.  Summer is it’s own type of busyness though, and between camps, mission trips and other fun stuff going on with the kids, you can very quickly get behind on life when you have to leave for a week here and there every other week.

Here’s a great free way to bless your minister. Pay attention to when you hear your ministers announcing trip dates.  (you might need to know those dates because your kids will be with them!)  If you’re still going to be in town while they’re gone, offer to house sit/ water flowers/ check on pets while they’re gone!  I know we have a ton of people in our church who would be more than willing to swing by and check on our house for us, but sometimes I get too worried that I’ll be inconveniencing them by asking. In case your minister is the same way, take that pressure off of them by offering before they ever even think to ask anybody!

If you want to go one step further too, last summer our friends mowed our lawn for us while we were gone with our last week of camp. I’m sure it was partially because I was so tired from camp, but I think I cried because I was so touched by it!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner


Welcome to the easiest way to bless you minster during a super crazy time of their life.

First, a little background for you. This summer our church approved to renovate our Fellowship Hall into a new youth space. While a great amount of money was set aside for this, in order to save on some of the costs they hired some really cheap labor: the youth minister!  (no worries, the youth and some super handy men also helped!)  Even though we had two months to get it done, by the time camps and mission trips and all the other busy youth activities were finished, it left about two weeks before our church's 60th anniversary party, which was really the deadline to have it finished by.

Cody was working his tail end off to get it done. I had just started my job and was adjusting to everything I had on my plate, along with being the overly emotional mom about sending her baby to daycare (no worries, I got over this!)  I really was close to a breaking point and didn't think anything could get worse, until it did. Cody started having some abdominal pain on Thursday night and ended up in the ER Friday afternoon and was diagnosed with a really bad infection. He was given a shot and an antibiotic, but was told it just had to run it's course from there. He then spent the next week in pain, trying to work but basically was a dead man walking.

One Tuesday I was leaving work to go pick up G and head to the grocery store to try and piece something together when a church member walked in and handed me a rotisserie chicken. She said, "it's not much, but I know y'all have had a lot going on so I thought you could use it!" I'm pretty sure I actually teared up holding a chicken.  We ended up eating that chicken all week long and it really saved my sanity.

So, if your minister has a lot on his plate and it's causing his wife to get a little bit of a nervous twitch, pick up a chicken for them. It's guaranteed to make the week better!


see all 31 days here

Monday, October 13, 2014

31 Days - Listen

Students ask Cody all of the time "so what do you do all week?!" as if he's just sitting at home waiting for Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings so he can "do his job." The fact of it is that ministers are actually spending a whole heck of a lot of time prepping material to teach to you! Just yesterday Cody preached a sermon asking the question "Do you want to get paid now or later?" His idea for this sermon actually stemmed from a run he took back in July. July y'all! Three months he's been thinking through this idea, praying over it and piecing together just the right things to say. There is nothing worse than prepping for a message that you are really passionate about and then seeing your audience totally check out during the service.

I get it y'all. I've sat through some preaching that was not my preferred style and felt like I was going to fall asleep on the spot.  I walked away from those mornings and  could not tell you one thing that was said as a part of the sermon. At the time, I would have blamed it on bad preaching, but as I've gotten older, I realize that I play the greatest part in what I get out of a sermon. Yes, there are totally going to be some ministers that you will connect with better and find it much easier to learn from their lessons. Whether it's your style or not, you still have to take responsibility for your part: bring your Bible and a notebook and try to actively pay attention. Take notes, write down questions that come up,  and try to engage the sermon in a way that will carry on through out your week.


As a Children's Minister, I'm pretty lucky that the majority of my sermons only has to be about two minutes long. It's totally easy to hold the kids [and the adults!] attention for that long.  I'll never forget one Saturday when we were at a community play and I met a new person and told him what my job was and he said, "That's how I know you! We watch on TV.  (pointing at Griffin) How's his toe jam?"*   It was totally a reference to a children's sermon I did MONTHS ago, sometime in March. I was floored that he remembered and it totally made my day.

I know, if preachers used toe jam as an example more often you would probably remember their sermons too :) There's no pop quiz at the end of a sermon waiting to see how much you took in, but try this Sunday to actively listen to your minister. You'll bless them and I bet you'll be blessed in return.


*and in case you're curious, I did a children's sermon over griffin falling into the lake.  I talked about how I gave him a bath and he looked clean on the outside, but I realized later that he still had stinky toe jam hiding where I couldn't see it. Yes, I even brought "toe jam" for the kids to smell.  I then related it to them that when we sin, other people might not know it and we may still look clean on the outside, but we are just stinky jam on the inside until we ask for God's forgiveness. It got a good rise out of the kids and apparently made an impact with the adults too!

see all 31 days here

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days - Friday Night Lights


Here in Texas Friday nights only means one thing: High School football.  The games aren't the only tradition though; the class suppers beforehand are just as important. Next time you hear of a local event or fundraiser,  pick up tickets to share with your minister. A free meal is always welcome ( for the young youth minister family at least!) but it could also be a community event that a new to town minister might not know about yet. A few we missed out on as newbies were a pancake supper, enchilada meal and a church's sausage lunch.  This is an easy way to bless your minister while helping them be plugged in to the community at the same time!


see all 31 days to bless your minister here