Thursday, October 31, 2013

my friends

I just thought tonight I'd talk about my friends.  None of us can be really close to more than a handful of people.

I'm thankful for my handful, more than I can ever tell them!

They pray for me.
They don't judge me.
They compliment me, when I deserve it.
They try hard to understand me.
They laugh with me and we laugh at ourselves - loudly!
They can show their care without even being with me.
They would come night or day if needed.
They are faithful and dependable.
They forgive me.
They don't care if I make mistakes.
They love me even when I repeat the same stories.

God never intended for us to do life alone.

What is the most important thing in a friend to you?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

what I learned today

I'm reading a book right now about leading worship and the things that matter most.

It's interesting how those of us that spend our week preparing all the details for the worship services can get lost in the details and have to work hard not to neglect the heart of worship.

What God values most He has determined not to take from us against our will. That is amazing to think about.  The God of the entire universe who could TAKE or CREATE anything He wanted will not take our devotion, our gratitude, our obedience, our worship.  But it's what He wants most.

Every single minute of my day, every single activity I participate in, all of my work, all of my thoughts every part of me can give Him what he wants most - my worship - my desire to know Him intimately.

What robs Him of what He desires?  Worry, a lack of time in the Word and prayer, sin.

What's just as amazing as Him not forcing out of us what He wants, is the fact that His love is new everyday.  I can start again tomorrow.  He waits.  That's crazy!

I love Him so much

Sunday, October 27, 2013

weekend report

Our weekend was so blessed.  The choir, the praise team and the amazing tech team all came together to produce an amazing worship experience for our congregation this weekend!

Deering Dyer taught us about prayer.   Just moments before the first service he described to me how he was personally very convicted this past week as he prepared the teaching.  He is a Godly man and he is just one of the staff I love so much at Crossroads.

Our Setlist:

The Lord Reigns
As We Pray
In Christ Alone
God Be Praised
10,000 Reasons
Message:  God, What Are you Doing? Pt. 5
Exit song

To watch our services on line go to

To see what other ministries used in their set lists go to

Friday, October 25, 2013

the honest truth

Some of you know I have had 2 night time seizures in the past 2 1/2 years.  I have been through a battery of tests this year all of which have returned to us normal - for which we're thankful.

Tuesday I have my last EEG and then the diagnosis we all assumed will probably be decided...stress and exhaustion.

Today I went in to my favorite Custom Pharmacy and Health Store to pick up more vitamins. 

One of the tests I had done was a saliva test that measures hormone levels and the Pharmacist wanted to talk to me about my test.  He looked at me and said , "you look tired".  He looked very unhappy.

So I followed him into his office and he proceeded to tell me what the results were - there weren't horrible just marginally low and then he said this, "if I could take your cell phone and computer away from you for 6 months and send you away, you would be a different person.  If you continue at this pace you are going to face serious health issues and I'm really worried about you..." 

ok then....

So what do I do with that??

When people that I respect tell me things I listen but i really don't know how to be something i'm not,,,

I'm not writing this for sympathy so please don't feel badly for me. it was just kind of surprising.

I guess I'll go to sleep now.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I guess there are some forms of proud that are ok - like the kind I feel about my friends and my kids.  I decided to post what Aaron and Jocelyn wrote this week - please pray for them - enjoy.


It is my distinct pleasure to announce that music lessons have finally begun on campus!
We purposely waited to begin these music classes until the 2013-2014 school year began here in Battambang so we could match the classes with the the students’ class schedules, and due to starting school in mid-October, followed by a week off due to flooding, the classes are just starting now.
We are beginning with private lessons in guitar, bass guitar, drums and piano. Between Aaron and myself, we have just under 100 students. Each student receives their own notebook and each lesson (1 per week) he or she receives new music and lesson sheets to add to their folders, creating their very own music books over time!
After solidifying the private lesson schedules over the next week or two (because here it takes some time for things to really cement), we will add the last remaining classes: beginners music class (ages 5-10) and music composition.
We will also spend time with the worship band and worship team, helping them grow as a musical ensemble and in the realm of worship leading.
The music composition class really is close to the heart of why we believe music education here is so important. It is our dream and desire to equip the Asia’s Hope students to not only be able to teach each other (and thus be sustainable after we are gone) but also to take the innovative plunge of creating their own original music and ultimately playing a role in shaping their rebuilding culture.
The key to inspiring them to do this is to make sure they are the ones behind the wheel of creativity. But one week into lessons, and I feel like my dreams are already being a reality. As one of our female students left her private lesson, she shared with Aaron how each of her friends are learning different instruments, and that now they want us to teach them how to be in a band. :)
Creativity is already appearing. By the end of the year, who knows what we will have!!


 The last several weeks have been a blur as Jocelyn and I have been teaching English classes and preparing for the music program. We have purchased some new equipment and instruments. We have also refurbished some old equipment and instruments, like the old drum set in this photo.

Next week we begin to teach private music lessons in small groups of four children. We’ll be teaching basic guitar, piano, drums, and bass. In addition, we’ll be identifying capable students to recruit for our music theory and ear training course as well as our music composition course.

I’m finishing the last year of my bachelors degree in Biblical Studies through Indiana Wesleyan University while in Cambodia. Every week I do a substantial study of a portion of the bible. This week, my assignments centered around the book of Leviticus. Though we often read about the Mosaic Law from the perspective of the Israelites, when we consider what it reveals to us about God we are left with an astounding (though perhaps obvious) truth: Yahweh is holy. The Law reveals a holy God that desires intimacy with unholy man. That became powerful for me this week when I realized that the story between Yahweh and man has not changed. Yahweh has always desired obedience from man so that He could be with man. I have made the mistake from time to time of thinking that the old covenant (the law) and the new covenant (the grace of Jesus) were opposing covenants. But for Yahweh, grace is not the opposite of law, but an associate. Yahweh desires us to cooperate with the grace of Jesus, as He desired the Israelites to cooperate with the Mosaic Law. But instead of a system of sacrifice and holy ethics, we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

All of that to say, Yahweh is reminding me of my story, by reminding me of humanities story. We were designed to be in communion with Him. Yahweh becoming Jesus was the ultimate revelation of his desire to be with us and that incarnation should elicit a response of obedience, or rather a desire to share that intimacy.

So these are my prayers and I ask that you will join me in them: Pray that Jocelyn and I would listen to the Holy Spirit leading us while in Cambodia, that obedience would bring us into Yahweh’s presence, and that He would make us holy by His presence. Pray for our students, brothers and sisters, here that we can find time to teach all that wish to learn and that their studying would leave a lasting impact on their lives and therefore in their culture. Pray for our energy, that the cultural fatigue would diminish and we would find time to refresh each day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

no room in my mind

I have not even given my blog a moments thought I've been so busy!  I've had no room in my mind to think and write - my mind has also been full of thankfulness.  So tonight I was determined to carve out a little time!!

I've had time the last few days to hang out with friends
and family and I have thoroughly enjoyed them both.  One of the things that was especially great was my mom's birthday shopping trip to Columbus!

My dad, book in hand decided to ride along, " just to be with mom he said."

We came sneaking up on him once in the mall to see him snoring away - after snapping a picture we left him in peace for a stop at one more store before lunch.

My parents have been married for 56 years.  I am thankful for every one of them.  And I take none of those years for granted.

I was telling my sister how blessed we have been to grow up in a quiet, peaceful, strife free home.  Even in adult-hood there are no fights or mean exchanges, ever.    It doesn't mean we're perfect but it means that my parents let the Lord that they love affect their daily lives.  They live it all the time.

As we celebrated my mom's birthday, I thanked the Lord for her, over and over that day.  She is the perfect wife and mother and cares deeply about the things of the Lord.  She deserved to be celebrated!

Our shopping wound down as we found a great pet store and I just HAD to buy Vern
his winter coat which he modeled when I got home.

Yes, I've been busy - but I built memories in the busyness and am thankful tonight to finally express my praise to my Lord!!

Monday, October 21, 2013


This month has contained a whole lot of 'away'!  And what a blessing it's been!

Last night I spent the night away for one of my girlfriends' birthdays - I'm not sure how many words have been spoken - or how many times we nearly fell off the couch in gales of laughter, but it has been a blast!  I love the women God has placed in my life and HIGHLY value them!

In talking to other ministry leaders I have discovered that our staff at Crossroads is a rarity as far as how close we all are.  How awesome to get to work and serve with people we love everyday!

I want to tell you who my staff girlfriends are that I give thanks for!  There is one new girl I'm looking forward to getting to know, her name is Kelly!

These are the staff girls I work with everyday:


On top of the staff we have amazing volunteers - God blesses me with these girls!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

being lead

I think the thing I enjoyed the most at the Gateway Worship Conference was 'being lead' instead of leading.

I'm sure all of you can relate - leading everyday at work, or leading your family, or leading special events gets draining even when you don't realize it.  You are so continuously in the middle of planning, executing, correcting mistakes that you don't really experience the spiritual part of the service or event unless you're very, very intentional about forcing yourself to step away and 'take it in'.

I got to sit....and absorb... and take in without any distraction - but then immediately began praying for God to reveal anything He wants to change

I want to challenge each of you reading this to understand that coming to church is not about 'what you can get'  but what you do with 'what you take in'.  As a believer of Christ Jesus we gather together in order to learn and leave with teaching to APPLY and to CHANGE our lives.  And then learning what you can do to contribute to the body of Christ with your gifts and talents.  I don't think church was ever supposed to be about what you can get.

I want to live that way - working all week to prepare, coming on the weekend to learn and be with my brothers and sisters in Christ! Serving and glorifying our precious Lord!

Please - join me!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the last day

This was our last day in Texas - it has been relaxing, confirming, confidence building, built greater contentment, revealed weaknesses, renewed determination, created new thankfulness.  Extremely worth while.

We heard great teaching, participated in fantastic worship, made new friends and discussed future possibilities.

Here is a glimpse of things we saw last night and today - thanks to all of your who prayed for our safety and learning!

This is the hallway outside the Gateway auditorium

An amazing night of worship

live artist painted on stage during worship

One workshop with Tim Shepherd and Thomas Miller

Max Lucado was an amazing speaker!

a little bit of praise at Gateway

The grassy knoll in Dallas where President Kennedy was killed
This is the building where they think Oswald shot from a top window

Goodbye Dallas - Mansfield here we come tomorrow!

Off to Ft. worth

We are leaving for Ft. Worth today to attend a couple additional sessions at that multi-site location.

The four of us sneak around asking questions and trying to get behind-the-scene tours and info! 

Later today we are stopping at the Christ For The Nations School to get info on internships and see how this school continues to produce such amazing worship leaders.

This has been a much needed break and a great learning experience.  Usually break-out sessions are the format from which I learn but the main sessions with Perry Noble and Max Lucado and Robert Morris have been amazingly inspiring !

Got to run will post pictures and more info later - Dan says it's time to go!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

being here

I am throughly enjoying being here!

Today I walked all around the Easton-like area that our hotel sits in for about 2 hours - alone.  I LOVED it so much - relaxing - no talking - no agenda - no deadline - no one knew who I was and it was wonderful!

Being here is all about being unknown - one of many - one of 3,000 in attendance at this conference.  Realizing how hungry I am to learn, to meet others that could become on-going new friends who toil in common ministry settings every weekend as we do.  They understand the privilege of being away surrounded by people of like experience and responsibility.  Tomorrow bright and early it all begins!

Today though, we got to worship at the Gateway Church and afterward talked to the keyboardist that came to Crossroads when Gateway lead us at the Night of Worship.  We were blessed by a pastor from Egypt teaching the morning message.  He spoke of the opportunity the Christians just had in their country as the Muslim Brotherhood burned churches and Christians' houses.  He spoke about how their Christian testimony attracted the attention of the muslims who were not radical and they actually surrounded the Christian churches to physically protect them.  The Christian leaders asked them to go home and save themselves!  They told them the churches were only buildings - not worth them losing their lives.  Muslims are coming to know the Lord as a result of the uprising that has recently happened in Egypt.  He was amazing to listen to!

Afterward, we talked to one of the pastors and found out he was from Detroit!  We enjoyed talking to him about how he got to Gateway.

Coming to this conference is as much about 'who' we get to meet and talk to as it is about attending the workshops and conference main sessions.

Here are some of the shots from today.
Irving Bible Church Town Square

Somehow Milo got on the stage!

Irving Bible Church stage

Thomas leading worship at Gateway

Bar-B-Que and Milo

Faces washed, stomachs full -        good-night my friends!

Friday, October 11, 2013

exploring and shooting

Today started with exploring the German town of Gruene - so beautiful!

Brothers - Ron and Tom

we ate a magnificent lunch at the Gist Mill Resturant!

It felt nothing like a resturant - almost as if you were just having a picnic by yourself
I found a shop called 'The Gypsie" and fell in love with a whole line of clothes I've never seen before just in time to hear my hubby say it was time to go!!  Not a happy girl - but I quickly typed the name of the clothing line into my browser for future ordering!  And there will be future ordering!

We arrived back in Austin just as our nephews got out of school and it was off to play for a while.

Our team won the laser tag game I'm proud to report!! We cheered with guns in the air as the defeated team sadly passed by!   I'm fairly sure the oldest child on the opposing team may have been 8 if I'm generous.  Details...
Victorious lazer tag team

A Game Place!

Endless climbing walls - I kept turning corners and finding more!
We ended the night at Torchies - the best taco resturant I've ever eaten at!
Excellent ending to our perfect day!

It's been fun to be with family in Austin - tomorrow we head toward Dallas and are praying for opportunities we've only dreamed of!  Gateway Church - here we come!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

loving Austin

I can see why people love it here - interesting sums it up best!  With no effort at all and just a short drive you can find tons of choices concerning how to spend your time.

My favorite things so far.

#1 - sleeping in
#2 - trailer food
#3 - the music scene
#4 - the weather
#5 - the shopping
#6 - sleeping in again

It's a blast out here and VERY restful so far - I'm beyond thankful for a few days out here with Ron's brother Tom who has been the PERFECT host!!  Here's a few photos from yesterday...  we'll talk again soon!


The capitol of Austin

the Capitol extension

another view of the capitol 

an amazing stage and free-standing screen backdrop

up-lights in the trees, hmmmm Christmas at Crossroads parking lot?


the painted floor of the Austin museum looking down from 2 floors up
paintings appear 3-dimensional

Justin Vernon - Grammy award winning guitarist - so good!

Blind Boys of Alabama - also Grammy winners fantastic

Penny & Sparrow - a group I plan to investigate!  I loved them!!

Tonight we get to see one of our nephews perform as one of the Beetles in his school play - so we can't wait!!  Too much excitement for one trip!

Have a great night Mansfield!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I am blessed beyond belief to have the privilege of going to Texas for the Gateway Worship Conference in a few days!   I honestly can't remember the year that I last got to attend a conference - and I feel this connection is VERY important for our ministry...a blessing indeed!

My hubby and I decided to go early and spend a few vacation days with his brother before the work days begin, and so I find myself in a huge empty brand new house - at 11:00 a.m. drinking coffee and writing...two of my very favorite activities!

I think I underestimate how much resting improves my health and mindset.   We slept in today until 10:00 a.m.  Unheard of but welcome.

As we prepare to walk and then head downtown Austin for lunch I am filled with thankfulness for family, friends, ministry and everything that surrounds me.

I will be updating the next few days with tons of pictures all laced with thankfulness and hopefully lots of learning things I can share and celebrate with you for eternity!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

a deep ache

I was just doing laundry this morning - playing with Vern, more like side-stepping Vern trying to avoid steeping on him when I got this deep ache -   an ache to read God's words and focus on the Lord.

So I picked up my Bible and read Chapter 2 of Habakkuk in preparation for the weekend's teaching at Crossroads.

What did God have for me to learn from this chapter?  It's full of concern over God's seeming lack of response to evil - that's certainly current as I look around at the concern of today's believers watching our freedoms slip away.  Wondering why God doesn't just crush the evil coming into our country.

It's also full of waiting - waiting for God's timing becuase He is the only one that see the eternal picture.  Think of that - the pockets of believers being tortured and killed around our world right now - the starvation of children going on around the world - He sees it as one piece one picture on a page in man's determination to rule himself minus God.  God the creator or man.  Crazy!

So trust and waiting - that's what the first two chapters seem to be full of.  What is my response to God?  Does my lack of trust and contentment show Him I truly don't believe that He is in control?  Does my worry tell Him I feel He's incapable of controlling our future?  Even if our future holds trial and things way out of our comfort zone?

I am anxious for Pastor Tim's teaching this weekend - and my ache has been fulfilled by God's Word once again.

It's crazy that my freedom allows me to physically pick up His Word whenever I choose - and many times I choose instead to remain in my lack of trust and worry.  For only in Him is my heaviness of life relieved ed and my burdens washed away.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The North American Church

I told my hubby just the other day -something is stirring within me - I don't know what it is....

When I hear a visiting GYMN leader talk I cry, when I read one of Jocelyn or Aaron's posts about Cambodia I cry, when Savorn reveals another 'basic need' in Cambodia I cry, when I think back over my day and the lack of eternity within it I am convicted....I don't know...

One of my favorite authors is Ann Voskamp and she recently wrote an article about the North American Church  and our willingness to be content to focus internally  (article link is found below).

 My stirring may just be in response to Crossroads' awakening toward missions.  I'm part of that awakening - for years I was convinced all I was called to do was to give to missions.   It's not enough.  I understand God has chosen where I'd live and how I'd live - and has blessed our family so that we can give to the poor and help the poor.  And I don't believe our response should be to 'sell everything' and leave the country because then we could not offer the help we can by working and remaining here.  But, it feels like it's not enough.

I am trying to remain in His will and His will only.  I am trying to lead and trying to serve as He calls me but I sometimes still feel distance between my days and any eternity accomplishment...I don't know..

This quote from Ann's article captured my feelings and gave me something to pray over, something to put before the Lord and to invite His evaluation...

You don’t wait until you have more before you give to God – you give now so you get to become more in God.

The North American Church

My prayer is that as you read this article you personally evaluate what you're doing with your life, with your everyday, with your resources and remember,  God refers to each of us who claim His name as "the church' - we are the church.