Monday, February 4, 2019

a second look

When you hear the phrase a second look, many things come to mind.

  • Men taking a second look at a pretty girl
  • When we're searching for a new home we might decide to take a second look at one we may be interested in.
  • When you're confused by what you thought you just saw, so you decide to take a second look just to make sure.

I recently got the dreaded call back from my doctor wanting radiologists from Columbus to take a second look at my yearly mammogram.  I knew that if I saw the office name come up on my phone  on a certain day it would only be because they wanted to see me again. That was a second look I never wanted to happen.  And of course this couldn't happen for two weeks!

The Lord was extremely kind and they had an opening just a couple days after I got 'the call".

Within minutes of arriving and having another mammogram, I was assured all was good, and instantly all my concern turned to thankfulness to the Lord, the great healer.

But, it was interesting as I went through my day how almost a feeling of guilt came over me for celebrating good health.

I've watched several of my closest friends going through countless testing just trying to identify what they're struggling with right now and it made me wonder why God chose me to be well.   I also have other friends who have a long road back to good health after facing a difficult diagnosis.

So the question that would not leave me was - if my diagnosis had been different, would I have still come out of that doctors office praising the Lord?  I didn't know...

I guess if even such a minor scare caused me to reach out to the Lord and ask for His help, I can see how these couple days of concern were used to turn my heart more fully toward Him.  It caused me to take a second look at what should be priorities and even to deal with the shame of worry which stands in direct contrast to a trusting spirit.

I plan to keep taking a second look at my life - asking the Lord to reveal what needs to change, and to be more involved with those who are going through suffering right now.

On this beautiful morning this scripture came to my mind...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Monday, January 28, 2019

31 years ago today

Today we celebrate as a family one of our greatest memories - our son's birth.

How can he already be 31?

I remember the night - about a 9 hour labor - doctor leaving because it was "shift change time", and getting called back from the parking lot...hubby in the waiting room telling everyone it was going to be a while and nurse going to retrieve him to return to delivery.

Soon after corralling everyone - Eric made his appearance.  7' 8oz - and our lives changed forever.

All of a sudden life moves from days filled with work and friends and traveling and learning Biblical truths -to responsibility and a reason for all the things you've previously done.

Suddenly we became committed and determined and intentional with our time, treasure and talents in ways we never had before.

And this young man was a gift straight from the Lord!

His adulthood has just been a larger version of his childhood habits and learning both spiritually and in including and caring for those around him.

Eric is one of the most God honoring, dependable, intelligent, artistically gifted - both musically as well as physically and technically gifted men I've ever known, has endless abilities to problem solve, repair things, and never stops dreaming of new things to come and how to make anything better!

His heart for the less fortunate is evident in he and his wives' desire to restore old homes - and to acquire beautiful buildings he can invite friends to live in.

Although reluctant to attend college he went, finished early with a Ministry Degree and is constantly looking for ways to really use that degree to improve the community around him!

He's a dedicated family man, we all spend countless hours together - and having Jocelyn move away recently has made us even more aware of how rare this opportunity is to spend so much time together.

This 31st birthday allows us a little time in our lives just to celebrate our son and the amazing, loving, generous man he has become!

Happy Birthday son - it's impossible to express what you mean to us!  We love you to the moon and back!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

alone time

Since it hasn't been as easy to just hop in my Jeep and run around the past couple days, I've been at home more than usual....a lot of alone time and have found I've enjoyed it immensely.  (Well outside the fact that our furnace is only capable of running at about 55 degrees...).

We were so busy over the holidays that it never even entered my mind to make new commitments to the Lord -  New Year's resolutions - so to speak.

That's why I'm thankful we waited to launch our "21 Days of Prayer and Fasting" until February.  You'll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks, we're working to prepare the 'guide booklet'!

I would encourage each of you to prepare now to make time in your day to really commit to being part of this!  Can you imagine the ways God could use Crossroads if we all fully turned our time and focus over to Him??

Shortly after our 21 Days come to an end, we'll also host one of the Community Nights of Prayer on March 12th. All the churches are being asked to consider hosting one of these nights.   This will be a tremendous time of prayer - coming together as the Mansfield community to lift up our leaders, broken community and ministry to the Lord!

Our area of Ohio is now known as one of the worst drug areas in the country - we can't change that alone- but God can when His people come together to make a difference through prayer and showing  the lost the only way to a meaningful life - Jesus Christ!

We know the Savior of the World personally, and it's time to start letting our community know!!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

what Christmas meant

As we get rested up from Christmas, I've had some time to consider what Christmas meant this year...

The emotions ran high!

I went from doubting that it would ever come together - to the excitement or progress, and then felt loneliness under the weight of responsibility  - I went from exhaustion to the exhilaration of accomplishment and then fell into a deep contentment as we were surrounded by family!  I just love the challenge to create and relish the years I've been involved with many other team members working on the details.  The enjoyment of creating doesn't lessen the emotions we experience, but this year when we gave out over 60 new believer packets to people that raised their hands indicating a decision to follow Christ, any worry we had experienced was immediately forgotten and turned to praise!

In the midst of preparing Christmas there were intentional moments of reflection on the true meaning of a Savior born for me...a breath taking realization!

I love the season despite it's hectic requirements - and realize what a privilege it is to try each year to tell the story in a true, compelling way praying it makes the story of Jesus come alive to someone for the first time!

You can watch our service here Christmas at Crossroads

I took many pictures that I'd like to share - they tell the story of the journey called Christmas!

Crossroads Artist Group created light-bulb decorations
for the Crossroads tree at Kingwood

Grandmas helpers with the Crossroads' Christmas

When your talented daughter writes a book...what a blessing to read this Christmas!
Jocelyn Hunsader, author.

This precious little one was part of our Christmas video shoot!

My talented son Eric Biddle shot the Christmas videos

Our precious friend Kristin playing the part of the doctor in our video

It was a cold video shoot day

Such generous Crossroads' attendees braving the cold for our video shoot

Family all together at the carousel! 

Ernesto brought the house down with "Mary Did You Know"!
It was a definite highlight!

Loved working with these hilarious, talented gentlemen!!

A whole row of my Ashland cousins - so thankful for extended family I love!!

Blessed to have the amazing group The Trio playing in our lobby!

Beautiful flowers for the talented granddaughter dancer!

A star is born!

Good friends for Christmas lunch - Dana and Sue!

Cousins so happy to be back together!

Not sure who likes legos more?

Oliver and grandpa carrying Grandma Forbes' new tv down to her!
Family helping to take all the decorations down and clean for the Celebration services!

Loving being together again!

I encourage all of you with grandkids to let them serve with you and see you serve in the church,
if they grow up doing it they take such pride in serving others and spending time at church!!

This about wraps up my blessed Christmas.  I can't thank all of you who made Christmas at Crossroads a possibility, and all of my friends that prayed for me and encouraged me as we planned and executed the services with our amazing teams!!  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas - a time for friends and family

I've had a privilege few experience for my whole life.  I've always worked and served with family.

I served along-side my parents in church as a kid - cleaning, mowing and preparing for our weekend services.  There's something about making your kids 'help' especially with menial tasks behind the scenes in ministry that makes them take ownership and care about the ministry personally. I HIGHLY recommend inviting your kids and grandkids to serve with you.

My mom and I also worked at two places of business together before I stayed home to raise kids.  These shared days of work and life let us know one another in ways most mothers and daughters don't experience.

As Ron and I had children we all served together at church doing various tasks and being there when the doors were open together

I'm in that era of life where I see roles reversing with our kids.  Now I'm the one being taught.

I started my day today 'learning' from the writing of my daughter as I continue my study of Mary from the book she just published.  There's something about raising your kids, trying desperately to teach them about who the Lord is, then benefitting from their knowledge of Him... (tears streaming down my face)...

And then to get the call last night that Jared and Jocelyn lead Trinity their daughter to the Lord...(tears running down my face)... no words

And following having time in the Lord this morning using Jocelyn's book, I saw our son's video work on social media again - as we advertise our Christmas services.

How different they are - one being a 'word-smith' from an early age, the other visually able to see the story and make it come to life through his ability to understand the message that needs to be communicated and capturing it on video or graphically.  Breathtaking...

You can see it at this link.
Lift Up Your Eyes

God has also gifted us with an amazing God-loving daughter and son-in-law too - both crazy in love with Jesus and talented.  We consider both gifts straight from the Lord and miracles!

I'm not writing this to brag about my kids, our family has experienced ugly season's too.
I'm writing to encourage everyone who reads this to mend any damaged family/friend relationship you have right away.

I'm not suggesting you enter back into any harmful relationship, ever! 

But, recently with people I've personally talked to, I've been shocked at how long it's been since they've talked to loved ones.  Differences in life style and life choices have separated them - a difference in opinion in some cases is all that separates them.  You DO NOT have to condone how someone lives in order to love them and let them know that.

Please consider this Christmas season a simple text or call to a family member or friend that you've distanced yourself from.

Jesus says to 'love'...He doesn't list exceptions that permit you to remain mad or harbor a heart of disappointment or lack of forgiveness.

We owe the Savior a clean heart - that's what He asks for at Christmas!!

(I would LOVE to hear your comments about steps you're going to take to contact loved ones!!)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Big Daddy came to town

My life has taken an unusual (even for me) giant leap forward speeding ahead the past few months.... multi-sites, new staff, events to plan and lead, houses to maintain, my own families' Thanksgiving to plan and enjoy and elderly parents to love.

But I'm so thankful for all the many things I get to be part of and one of those events was the Big Daddy Weave/Brandon Heath concert Crossroads' hosted recently.

These gentlemen love the Lord and authentically serve Him as they travel!  It was a joy to host them at Crossroads!

Enjoy the pictures...

My hubby and I were treated as if we were old friends by Big Daddy Weave's guys as well as Brandon Heath (even after I didn't recognize him when he first came into the Crossroads Coffee Shop)   It was an honor to serve them!

We sold out - people stood in line for as far as you could see!

Preparations began early in the day!

The band took an extended time of spiritual reflection and prayer to prepare well
for the concert.  They walked around the auditorium asking the Lord to be very present!

We sold out - no room to spare and it was a glorious concert!!

It was a glorious night together as we worshiped at the Jesus I Believe Tour!  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Washington DC Trip = new Crossroads community

This is the first I've had time to sit down long enough to download even half of my Washington pics and write a few lines about the amazing experience me and my Crossroads' brothers and sisters had together!

Elaine Hess our tour guide - leading veterans
today around Washington DC
We had the opportunity to organize a trip to Washington for Crossroads, and one of the best aspects of the trip was to be lead by my life-long friend Elaine Hess.  Elaine is a retired history teacher who has been leading trips and teaching students about our America history for decades.  Even today she is leading a group of Veterans around Washington! 

The knowledge she possesses and the understanding of our Christian heritage is a rare privilege to experience as she prepared us on the bus for each thing we were about to see!

(She is currently looking into organizing a trip for us to Philadelphia to explore the rich history that area has to offer - but that could be a 2020 trip, 2019 is looking pretty full at Crossroads already)

Let me show you a little of the amazing trip we took with my pictures!
These are my Crossroads friends!!  Our new community!
We are holding the beautiful plaque Elaine brought for us to leave at the Vietnam wall that simply said "grateful", and summarized beautifully how we all felt toward the young men and women who fought in this horrible conflict.

Crossroads said thank you to our soldiers whose
lives were lost in Vietnam.
Judi Teaters stopped to thank a brave veteran who had once served!

Chuck Pfeifer and Bill Lee had the amazing privilege
of presenting a wreath that our guide Elaine had
waiting for us.  This is where they went for instructions.

behind the quarters of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Bill Lee served in Vietnam and Chuck Pfeifer served in the guard!

This was the Crossroads wreath the men presented!  It was
beautiful and said on the ribbon Crossroads Community Church!

I'm hoping this video finishes uploading soon - it shows the entire ceremony at the tomb - it may be too large of a file for my blog - I'll keep trying!
I loved this sculpture - the Air Force Memorial
It is difficult to show how tall this is - it
beautifully represents air...

This is looking straight up at the Air Force


Thought is was interesting to stand behind a
Korean vet while looking at Lincoln

Washington Monumen

The Korean Memorial has soldiers facing every direction
as they would have been making their way through the
rice paddies of Korea.  Every side you stand on looks as
if one of the sculptures is watching you.  Even the plants
they walk through symbolize as closely as possible how
the fields looked.

Incredible detail!

I had never seen the Washington National Cathedral before - it was magnificent!

The Museum of the Bible was amazing too!  Too many areas
to explain and photograph!

One room showed the most shared verses in different nations.
This was from home of our Asia's Hope partners in Cambodia

You could add your own words to displays and murals!
Iwo Jima sculpture so beautifully describes soldiers working together for victory!

We somehow ended up in the middle of a video shoot of sports mascots?

It's very difficult to understand this memorial without seeing it live.  All of these lit benches represent the 125 lives that
were lost during 9-11 when the terrorist plane hit the Pentagon in Washington.  The plane contained some very young children and their parents, so they arranged the benches by age, a powerful reminder that evil minded people value no one. 

You can see the name that the bench represents. 
 This memorial is one of the most well-thought-out of all.  The benches that represent the lives of those lost in the Pentagon building face the Pentagon as your read the name, the benches representing those lost in the airplane face the flight path looking away from the Pentagon when you read them...astoundingly well planned and thoughtful.  If multiple family members were lost, those names are inscribed in the shallow lit pool under each bench.

To stand and visually see the area of the Pentagon the plane hit and turn and look at all the lives lost, evoked a deep sadness within me...sobering at the level of sin possible in mankind.


The Ohio portion of the WWII memorial

FDR memorial

Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair

The Breadline

This was an era when America listened to their president on the radio

Visiting this amazing capital city aroused within me a renewed sense of appreciation for the sacrifice millions have been willing to make, many with their very lives for our freedom.

And yes, freedom means you are free to agree, free to protest, free to give your opinion on issues and free to choose who to vote for.   But I can just about guarantee they didn't give their lives intending for people to bully one another or scare one another into agreeing with their views or disrespect another's freedom believing their opinion is more important.

I've been praying a lot for this coming election and a renewed sense of respect for one another and ultimately that true believers in Jesus Christ will step up and demonstrate kindness and respect and live out the kind of life that's easy for others to know that there is something different about them.

Each of us that had the privilege of going to Washington together loved the time we spent together, learning more about our country and more about one was amazing!