Friday, October 30, 2009

false guilt

Last night we visited my parents.

I try not to talk about my parents very often because so many of my closest friends have already lost loved ones. But, I can't help it...

As I kissed my dad goodbye last night and told him I loved him, he held on to my hand just a little longer than usual and it was a touch I cannot get off my mind. I love him.

My dad worries out loud about the ways he thinks he was less then he should have been as a father, but, my memories are completely different than his.

He remembers with great regret one Christmas when my aunt (his sister) really needed family around her, so we loaded up all our gifts and off we went to be with her.

His memory = "I put your aunt before my own family, I took my family away from Christmas"
My memory = One of the most fun Christmases I can ever remember. All 6 of us crammed into a Dodge Dart or some sort of ridiculous small vehicle driving for hours!

His memory = "I took you kids out to my dad's farm for years and slaved away day after day trying to save the farm for him instead of being home"
My memory = That farm equals a hundred hilarious scenarios in my mind- my brother being held by my very large grandmother under the ice cold farm well faucet to make him stop holding his breath when he threw tantrums (it worked!)

- my terrifying experience trying to keep pigs in the barn with a pitch fork while the men put rings through their noses, at least until they all turned and ran toward me and I threw the pitch fork in the air and ran for the house leaving all the pigs out running haywire!

-the endless attempts of my sister and I to sneak past my grandmother (who could barely hear anything) to get upstairs in the farmhouse. Why she didn't want us kids up there is still beyond me. There was nothing up there except beds - and definitely no heat. But 10 minutes after we made it up we'd hear "You kids get down here" and down we would come preparing for the next attempt a few minutes later.

His memory = "I should have been home with my family instead of taking a night time factory job"
My memory = He had to take any job he could find while the barber shops all around town went out of business during the hippie era. I remember laying awake until I heard his car each night then immediately drifting off to sleep! I was proud of how hard he worked - and at over 80 yrs old he is still barbering.

His memory = "I wish I could have given you kids more."
My memory = I was always full, happy and thankful. And I never worried about my parents relationship or their love for me!

His memory = "I had you kids at church too much growing up, mowing, weeding, cleaning taking care of anything that needed to be done at church."
My memory = There is nothing more important than family and serving in the local church - I am serving today as a result of my parents unselfish dedication to the local church and to others.

I held onto his hand just a little bit longer than usual last night...I love him...and I still need him.

Any guilt he feels is false guilt - given the chance, I wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This is the word that my husband and I both shout out in unison as we watch Antique Roadshow.

We have no concept why anyone would want to hang on to any item that is worth a great deal, an item you would be terrified to even use! We know many people love to collect and that's great - it's just not our thing.

We yell, "sold"! meaning we would not have a moments hesitation in selling the item as the expert reveals ridiculous values on very old items!

The economy we are experiencing right now just kind of puts things in perspective. Things are only worth what someone will give you for them. What once was considered priceless is suddenly worth pennies on the dollar.

I of course have no idea what God will allow America to become, we certainly do not deserve any special favors. Regardless, I actually hope I never forget what it feels like to not be able to place my hope in money and things and the future. I think about God more, I pray for my kids more, and I try to look ahead at what the church may need to become to a struggling community.

Sold - a word that once meant only gain or prosperity, now means in some cases something done out of desperation and with a certain amount of luck.

Sold only happens when someone is buying... right now the worldly system we depend on seems to be breaking. Antiques I can live without...

I am so thankful that my hope does not rest in this world!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

that's all I'm saying...

so thankful for opportunities

Yesterday I got to attend the "Gifted To Lead" conference.

Got to see Nancy Beach again!

Anyway, what a blessing to be challenged by such strong leaders. Challenged to lead strongly and confidently. Challenged to admit we were created with leadership gifts and to work hard to develop them. Challenged to follow God's leading in our lives always.

They described with shocking detail the 'ways' I have often felt in my leadership journey. Times I felt stupid for blurting out some idea that no one understood - times I didn't speak out and wished I had, especially when it involved things I was concerned about and shrugged it off instead of speaking honestly - and times of God moving in ways so far beyond our own doing.

I am thankful for all the people in my life that have pushed me out of my comfort zone - have told me 'you can do it' - have given me the opportunity to succeed and to fail.

I am thankful for those friends and volunteers that work under my leadership - I feel many times so sorry for you as my attention wonders to and fro - I feel proud of you as you create and serve and push to further God's Kingdom - and I love the longevity that so many of you have with our ministry, this speaks volumes to me because these days commitment is so rare.

It was a great day of learning and basking in a leadership surrounding - just soaking it all in. I am very thankful, so thankful!

Monday, October 26, 2009

my day off-ish

It's another -ish day. Not quite a day off, but, laid back none the less.

We are setting up for the Harvest Party at Crossroads.

Ron is in charge of setting up the Black Light Room - turned out to be quite an undertaking! But, as soon as he is done we will be free to get outside.

What an amazing day here in Mansfield! Almost 65 they said! I love Fall in Ohio, love it!

It is funny how only after I traveled all around the country when I was first married, did I become satisfied with where we live. Beautiful area or Ohio!

We have the best of everything here; low housing costs, change of seasons, lots of relatives close by, only an hour and a half from the Great Lakes, beautiful wooded areas and state forests close by, just a lot of variety in landscapes!

I am so thankful to be right where I am, very thankful. Enjoy your day, wherever you happen to be!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

weekend report

Great weekend coming off of the Willow Creek Small Group Conference Simulcast here at Crossroads - today we will tear our entire ministry apart in preparation for our annual Harvest Party on Wednesday! If you are within driving distance you really should be here to see the masses that attend this free event!

Pastor Tim's message answering the question of, "Don't All Religions Lead to God?" was outstanding, you can watch it at tomorrow - including downloading the transcript!

Although we had tech problems with our headsets, preventing clear video communications, our amazing volunteers pushed through and the message was clear.

My favorite line from worship this weekend was "Your kindness leads me to repentance..." I have heard this song 100 times, why this stuck out today is weird. I grew up feeling that guilt, or a harsh father figure God is what forced me toward repentance...but His kindness does...very cool private worship moment for me!

Our SetList:

Pre-Service video by one of our artists
Announcements: Joseph Gillum
New Praise Song: This Is Your Song - Tommy Walker
Praise song: Mighty To Save - Hillsong
Worship: You Are Good - Gateway
New Praise Song: God You Reign - Brewster
Praise: Let God Arise - Tomlin

Message: Don't All Religions Lead to God

Exit Song: God You Reign

You can see what other ministries around the county used in their worship services by going to Fred McKinnon's site.

God Bless Your Week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

our words out there

We all have words 'out there' for all the world to hear and maybe also to see.

I recently have been questioned about a comment I made on Facebook. When I looked back at the comment I realized I didn't mean it the way it read at all.

Good grief at the very least if I'm going to throw my words 'out there' - I need to carefully examine the intent and the way it sounds before putting it 'out there'!

Friends I know that have no love lost with Facebook and other on line communities do have some legitimate concerns. Misunderstandings, unkind opinions, no face to face interaction, and the ability to make ourselves look and sound so Godly or the opposite!

So I ask myself why do I think it is important to put my words 'out there'? I don't do it because I think what I say is important.

Never in my life, NEVER, have I ever been consistent with a journal or much of anything in the area of study or writing. This blog is my first consistent endeavor. Except, I pray - my growth spiritually and the consistency of my marriage!

What I find it does is make me more aware throughout my day. Watching for something significant to happen - enjoying just a little bit more whatever I'm in the middle of - or best of all, learning more. Learning by paying closer attention, taking notes or focusing more. This is why I write. It began selfishly for me.

But...when one of you come up to me and tell me it challenged you, or you learned something or most of all the you were encouraged...I cannot describe the feeling and complete shock! So if in my own attempt at consistency you come along - well, that's just cool and I thank you so much!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

looking forward to weekend

Willow Creek Small Group Conference is coming to Crossroads this Saturday Live VIA satellite!

You really, really should come if you are a small group leader - the opportunity to attend this and never leave Mansfield is huge!

If you would like more information just click here to go the Crossroads website to purchase your ticket.

Or, if you are a small group leader at Crossroads you can contact Deering Dyer at 419/529-0750

Come join us as we learn more about leading small groups even better!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Austins Bridge

You all really, really need to buy a $10.00 ticket and come see Austins Bridge on Tuesday, November 2! You will love them!

Austins Bridge

You can buy tickets at the Crossroads Web site

tested by fire

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. if any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved..

I Corinthians 3:12 - 15a

There are certain materials that will withstand fire - gold, silver, precious stone but wood hay and straw certainly will not!

I love to work, and I love to be involved in whatever is going on...but I wonder often what I have done that will stand for eternity. Wrong attitudes, arrogance, laziness all of these I would guess turns work into straw. I don't want to spend my life on things that are is just too short.

I have to wonder if we will all be pretty surprised what and who get the greatest rewards in heaven based on work. To stand before our Father some day empty handed, that would be the worst thing.

I want those I come in contact with to understand the eternal value their lives have. I pray God gives me more opportunity to live as if I understand the truth in the passage from Corinthians.

black and white...gray

I have really been bothered lately by families at our church that have been attending different ministries. There I said it!

In my mind church and commitment are very, very black and white. But it seems like others around me think in gray...I don't get that.

If someone truly believes that God is calling them to another ministry, I will be the first to celebrate the fact that they are so in tuned with their Heavenly Father as to discern they need to move. God does move His children from time to time - He needs to redistribute them to meet needs in other places sometimes. Occasionally we get visitors from other ministries that come to learn specific things or to be with their families, that is fine - but, we never try to recruit them away from their home ministries...never!

But, when people try to hit multiple ministries - never fully committing to any ONE - I think they rob their family of a great opportunity to witness commitment and Godly leadership.

It is not my intent to offend anyone - and this post may do that - but I grow weary of constant movement. It does none of our ministries any good and we should all be encouraging commitment.

I commit today to pray for my brothers and sisters that seem confused or torn between ministries. Please I beg you for the good of the kingdom - seek God's leading and settle your families in the place God is calling you to serve, support and grow your children. Whether that is Crossroads or not.

In attending multiple ministries you help no one, and instead you quite possibly hurt many.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'in' instead of through

Finally, a day where my head and heart could truly be 'in' the day instead of just passing through!

A beautiful morning looking at God's glorious amber and gold colored unnecessary but, soooo appreciated! The detail He lavishes on us so often unnoticed...

I had a slow beginning to my day as I studied and began to do some research for coming series at Crossroads. And I loved it!

We are blessed in this part of the country to have amazing season changes - my own yard is my favorite location in the Mansfield area.

I'd love to hear from the rest of you, where is your favorite place in the Mansfield area?

Monday, October 19, 2009


My phone died today so I was out of touch with everything going on.

When I got back on my computer I read the prayer requests from the weekend congregation. This line was at the end of one of the requests.

"I praise God that we still have a job and mostly that Jesus died for our sins"

Out of all the prayer requests I read this very simple Praise - stuck out to me...just the simplicity caught my attention. It made me remember and consider just how much every single day I should be thankful for my amazing blessings!

There is nothing that makes any problem I have disappear faster then reading other's prayer requests. The ask for help, the hope that the church holds the answer to struggles they are going through is just so genuine and in some cases the last chance for answers. But in all circumstances...

I am thankful 'mostly that Jesus died for our sins.'

Sunday, October 18, 2009

weekend report

Oh my -

weekend began with Pastor ill - Wendell Anderson stepped up big time! We talked afterward about the fact that although we spend so much time worrying when our changed plans - God already knows who will teach, what will be taught and who will respond. Very comforting. Even the drama - originally intended to support another service - fit like a glove to support the teaching!

We are blessed often with team members bringing food on Saturday nights to feed the worship team/tech team volunteers! Saturday was no exception - Jackie Crawfis made us some of her amazing soup and also provided Shrimp Cocktails! Who eats like that before leading worship?? We do! Very blessed!

We gathered the team like always on the stage to ask the Lord to be very present this weekend...

The services rocked! 10 first time decisions for Christ! Worship was so, so, so amazing - drama - supported the message perfectly!!

Here is our setlist:

Original video welcome
Opening Special: Nothing But The Blood -original - Milo Sgambellone
Praise: Only A God Like You - Walker
Worship: Our God Saves - Baloche
Worship: Inside Out - Hillsong
Worship: God He Reigns - Hillsong
Drama: Headaches Wilow Creek Association
Message: Answers Pt. 2: What Happens After I Die? Wendell Anderson
Call/Announcements: Bill Hill

To see what other ministries used in their service this weekend go to Fred McKinnons site.

To watch our service click here on Monday!

May God Richly Bless your Week!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

old stomping ground

We attended a dinner at Mansfield Christian High School tonight.

It was fun to see and talk to people I haven't seen for a very long time.

The speaker was excellent and the food was amazing! All in all a good night...but long. I'm very tired.

God has been amazing to our families. The faithful Godly walk of my parents has had an immeasurable influence on how I spend my life. I can never thank them enough.

Tonight was a night of both looking back and looking forward with family and friends. It is good to look back at where you came from, it reminds me of the blessings that fill up my life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's fun around here

It was so much fun to be at Crossroads last night !

There was a great deal going on and a really awesome spirit around the ministry.

Parenting Classes
Guitar Classes
Vocal Classes
Youth Small Groups and worship
University Classes

Really made me thankful again to be part of this amazing community of believers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Austins Bridge

I am so excited that we get to host Austins Bridge at Crossroads Monday, November 2!

We are able to offer tickets for just $10.00 each! You can pick them up at Crossroads now!

Please join us for this amazing concert - it's going to be so much fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

what I learned today

The artists of Crossroads teach me lessons every time I meet with them, and I'm the leader! Cool!

Tonight we discussed artists vs. audience and the relationship between the two.

Our book "Imagine That" asked this question - not original, yet thought provoking none the less, " does art exist without an audience?" hmmm

We went on to study about the fact that not one word exists, not one note has been sung, not one artistic creation has ever been made without God's knowledge. God is our audience of one and I feel we should create if we feel lead regardless of an audience.

In fact I'll go so far as to say that I feel that unless we are willing to create, sing or write just for Him - we shouldn't do it at all. He is our first audience - and ultimately it is God's calling that should lead us to public performance - never a desire to be known and praised by people.

Monday, October 12, 2009

my day off

Finished up some to do's - ate brunch with relatives - did my Visa statement for church - now finishing up details for another concert coming to Crossroads!

Please go to Austins Bridge's My Space and listen to their music and watch their video! I am not kidding - they are amazing! We are going to have so much fun with them - please get your tickets this weekend at Crossroads- only $10.00 each! We will also have tickets available on line by the end of the week at the Crossroads site.

Check them out by clicking here! Austins Bridge

Sunday, October 11, 2009

weekend report

Pastor Tim nailed it with the launch of the new series "Answers", people were very attentive and talked about the teaching as they left today - anxious to share what they learned.

What that tells me is two things:
  1. Pastor Tim had God's anointing as he both chose the subject and as he delivered!
  2. We stayed out of the way. Many times we talk about hitting every detail and transition perfectly - the real reason this is so vital is to first of all bring God our best, but to also become invisible to the congregation. If we know our stuff and come prepared the message comes through loud and clear and we all kind of disappear!
Our Setlist:

We introduced a new song today as an opener: This is Your Song - Tommy Walker
Announcements: Stephanie McAuley
Praise: How Great Thou Art - Baloche
Worship: How Great Is Our God - (Tomlin - shortened)
Worship: Chorus only Revelation Song - New Life
Special Music: The Word Is Alive - Casting Crowns
Message: Answers Pt. 1: Isn't the Bible a Book of Myths and Fairytales? Tim Armstrong
Special Music: You Word Will Be The Last Word Tommy Walker

To watch our service go to Crossroads' site on Monday.

To see what other ministries around the country did this weekend at Fred McKinnon's site.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Gunshow back in town!

I have gone once again from empty nest to very, very full - the way I LOVE it!

We have the privilege of housing 8 or so college students this weekend as The Gunshow prepares for their Saturday evening show at Berean Baptist Church.

You should all come down!!

Anyway, it's loud, very, very loud in my garage right now, but, the boys are back and having great fun! Wouldn't have it any other way!

I feel unsatisfied

I feel unsatisfied this week. I think it's because I am out of touch with my God.

Busyness, even for Him doesn't count as time spent in Him.

I miss Him when I get too busy serving Him.

Guess you could call me Martha this week - I think what God really wants from me is to just sit down and listen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Yesterday I attended a funeral.

Approximately 50 other people also attended.

As I sat there I couldn't help but wonder, if I died would people come? Of course my friends and immediate family would, but, beyond that?

Have I affected people's lives enough that they would take time off of work to come? Have I impacted anyone outside my immediate circle so much that they would alter their schedule for a day to come? Who knows...

I could see cars going down surrounding streets as I sat there, busy with their lives. Oblivious to the deep loss of the family inside.

It made me wonder how many people I have passed by without a thought to what they may be going through. How many opportunities to share the life changing message of Christ - did I walk on by...

I sat with 50 people yesterday who came to pay respects and who came to say goodbye - funerals bring perspective, a renewed eternal perspective.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

countdown to Harvest party

Very exciting that the Harvest party at Crossroads is just a few weeks away!

Pictured is one of the many possible prizes for our raffle!

But, there are a ton more! Browns tickets, Crew tickets and yes, it's true the coveted CAVS tickets! (Don't bother - they're mine!!!)

Clear your calendars now for that final Wednesday in October at join us at Crossroads!

the final episode

Of course in ministry there is never an end, thank goodness. So, as we packed up Rebecca - we sat up communion and baptism for tomorrow night.

The college Small group stayed most of the day today to help us, and they ended the night by helping set up the baptismal for tomorrow. Now anytime you get young adults involved - the process gets just a little unorthodox, but, it gets done!

Bet your church never set up baptism this way?? Hope to see you at First Wednesday at 7:00 tomorrow. Good night - I'm exhausted but it's been amazing!!

final shots

We just waved goodbye to Rebecca St. James' bus. What a blessing they were to have here at Crossroads! Close up and personal...we had so much fun!

How great that Rebecca travels with her family - these are two of her 5 brothers!

God sends each of us down different paths when we serve Him. And sometimes our paths cross very special people. Tonight mine crossed paths with amazing people! Very cool!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

coming together

Everything is coming girls are in the merchandise area, and the boys are standing by ready to serve!

Ooops got to run - the audience is coming in!

earlier today

Ok, so I'm having trouble keeping up! So here is a shot of stage set up for Rebecca's SHE concert.

ongoing Rebecca blog today

We are ready and waiting for Rebecca St. James team to arrive! Anytime now...

My trusty assistant Joseph is trying to get me rocked on Starbucks - based on the picture I'd say it's working!

Stay tuned for constant updates today!

Monday, October 5, 2009

my day off

Spent the day getting ready for Rebecca St. James!!! Cannot wait!!

You should check out her page - the event that is coming to Crossroads tomorrow is the SHE event - come on out for it!

Good night - got to go home - just cleaned the green room - we are ready!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

weekend report

We were blessed like crazy this weekend by a guest teacher Knute Larson. Knute was formerly the Sr. Pastor at the Akron Chapel for 25 years. He recently retired...sort of and blessed us by teaching this weekend.

Our setlist:

Glory To God - Fee
Announcements: Pastor Tim
Everybody Praise the Lord - Brewster
My Savior Lives - New Life
Praise To The Lord - Nobility Obliged (shortened)
Introduction of Knute Larson
Teaching: Paul's Last Word
Exit Song: Glory To God - Fee

Gotta Go get ready to host Rebecca St. James next!

To see what others did this weekend go to Fred McKinnon's site!

To watch this service on Monday, go to (we do not mix separately for recording - so not a great sound.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

another amazing Saturday

We were truly blessed tonight with Knute Larson's teaching...truly amazing!

It is funny how we have preconceived ideas about people - especially people that have experienced a level of success. Such was the case of my perception of Knute Larson. I just assumed that he would be reserved, NOT!

He and his amazing wife were such blessings and so easy to talk with and get to know.

I really love the opportunities that God has given us to spend time with other leaders and people within other ministries. It brings such encouragement and connection!

If you weren't at Crossroads tonight you have to come tomorrow!

Friday, October 2, 2009


We are constantly moving throughout our entire lives.

We can move up...

move over...

move in...

move out...

move out from under...

move around...

There are good moves like a friend of mine did just tonight. She sold her old house and moved into an awesome double.

Then there are dreaded moves. My husband just left for the hospital - it's midnight - a family connected to our ministry just lost a 51 yr. old son to what sounds like a heart problem - he has unexpectedly moved on.

Moving. It is possible to be ready for moving. It's what we should spend our lives preparing for.

Moving...sometimes we determine and are in control of a move, sometimes we aren't.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

hallway conversations

I love hallway conversations!

They typically short, sweet, precise and over!

Today's hallway conversation with Pastor Tim proved to be the beginnings of Easter service planning.

Totally impromptu - I let him listen to a song that I was excited about, I described how I was thinking of presenting it creatively. He asked me to rewind it, and realized the beginning lyrics perfectly supported what he had been feeling God has laid on his heart as a possible theme for next Easter.

Before the 10 minute conversation ended - more ideas came out that we both got pretty excited about.

All I can tell you is - artist, water, box...kind of like rock, paper scissors! We shall see - I love spontaneous creativity.

Oh yeah, Christmas - maybe tomorrow's conversations will create Christmas - I can only hope!